I spent the week doing just what I said I would- writing a silly middle group book. Alas, what I hadn't counted on was writing a bad silly middle group book.
It's possible if I'd given the idea some more time to germinate, it might have been better. It's equally possible I never would have written anything,which I think was my concern (all this was over a week ago, so my memory has faded).
I wrote from Friday until Thursday, taking Sunday off to watch football and figure out the chapter sequence. I don't think I resented having to work until Monday, but once resistance hit, it hit big time. I practically had to force myself to write. The actual writing wasn't painful (it wasn't good, but it wasn't painful), but there was no joy, no anticipation, no delight at the end of a good day's work.
I finished Thursday morning, setting a record for fastest two chapters ever written. Also shortest two chapters ever written. The book ended up being about 25 pages shorter than I'd planned. The only problems the manuscript had were characterizations and plot,both of which were missing. Oh yeah, and structure. That was a problem too. Poor thing never even got a title.
I don't mind writing something that fails. I fail regularly in life. And devoting ten days of my life to a manuscript that stinks, well, ten days can shake the world, but that's the exception, not the rule. No, what makes me sad is my realization that the manuscript stinks. I always think what I write is fabulous. Forty years of professional criticism and rejection have never changed that. My ego remains robust regardless. But some critical self-awareness must have snuck in, for me to know what I was writing was crap even while I was writing it. Waaa!
Therefore I've decided to retire and devote myself to my art. It is clearly my true calling. I can see now the only thing that was holding me back from taking my place with Petrus Christus and the Master Of The Female Half-Lengths was my palate. All us great artists need more than black and red to make our masterpieces stand out from everyone else's masterpieces. So yesterday, I went to Staples and bought a fourpack of Sharpies, just the kind Dierck Bouts used to favor. I then stared at myself in the mirror long enough to start weeping over what my hair looked like, and painted a self portrait. Note, in particular, how I captured the teary green of my eyes.
Someday art historians will look back at this self-portrait and declare it the start of my legendary Plaid Period. They'll comment on the influence I had on Matisse, even more stunning because he was dead before I ever began painting. "Oh, what she could have taught the grand masters," they'll murmur (ideally on the internet, so I can find them via Google). "To think she wasted decades writing Kid Power The Year Without Michael, Life As We Knew It, and the soon to be published the dead & the gone, not to mention the seventy one other amazingly wonderful books she graced all humanity with, when she could have been painting such artistic masterworks of complex simplicity or simple complexity or something."
Say, wait? Is that my robust ego knocking at the door? It missed me. And just like me, it looks fabulous in plaid!