Back in the Saddle

Since returning from Minnesota, life at our place has been all about writing, at least as much as possible. Carrie has actually been on a roll for months and will send out her book manuscript for review before we leave for Australia in July. As for me, I haven’t had this much sustained time to write in about 2 years. Last summer was consumed with learning my new job as chair, various departmental crises and moving. Even when I had the time to write, I didn’t have the mental space. As usual during the school year, the lively milieu around here took up most of my attention, and although I got a little writing done here and there on deadline, I wasn’t making significant book progress. Bit I knew that the university was going to be closed for two long holiday weekends in a row and I decided instead of taking time off, I would write, and write, and write. Since last Friday, I’ve written 35 pages, which might actually be a 1-week record for me since the days of taking graduate seminars. I’ve been reading, interviewing and taking notes on all this stuff for some time. Presentations in April helped form my ideas for this last (or perhaps penultimate) substantive section of the mp3 manuscript and now I’ve been at it almost every day, with time left over for socializing and some meetings and chairing.

It hasn’t been without struggle. A week ago Wednesday was my first full day back writing and it was agonizing to get back into the ms., to feel “out of the game,” to not be moored in the points I wanted to make. But I regrouped and took a fresh shot Friday with a new outline and lots of things marked in texts to enter into the document. My favorite part of writing is being in the middle of it, and somehow I always want to begin in media res instead of taking the time I know I need to do the setup first. But once the setup was done, the words started to flow. It’s mostly been like that ever since — organizing and entering massive amounts of “data” for discussion. And today, I started feeling the metaphors coming on, which is always a good sign — that the “stuff” has reached a density in the ms. where I can start interpreting it.

Of course everything will need revision and I think there may even be a chapter of my manuscript that will need to be cut (which is fine since this “short” book will be over 300 ms. pages by the time I send it off). But the only place I’m struggling for words right now is to try and describe the palpable sense of relief I feel as I am back at my “art” (or at least my “craft”). I can’t promise myself to send it out by July 25th — I still have a lot to do and there’s the matter of getting courses in order — but I will at least be much, much closer.

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