Tuesday, May 19, 2009

4:35 PM on a Tuesday

I watched the brilliant day through the breakroom window, green trees saluting a sharp blue sky.  Grass danced restlessly from the wind.  Sunlight reflected a warm world both blinding and inviting.

"Incredible day," someone said.

I agreed.

I then retreated into a stark hallway, my eyes adjusting to darkness as phantom colors danced across my vision and plotted the course that could have been.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

One down, five to go

Warning: I am about to blather on about matter that is most likely uninteresting to anyone other than me, because I feel the need to mark the fact that last night I finished writing my book.

This is a pretty big deal in the world of me, you see.

True, I must pare back that accomplishment with a series of qualifiers.  What I have written is still probably a little rough in places and at least a couple editing passes away from true completion.  And then, of course, is the fact that it's a script for a graphic novel, so the book has incalculable hours of sketching, layout, drawing, inking, coloring, and lettering ahead before it can truly be considered complete.  Add to that also that even then this is simply the first installment of a story that will (in theory) span six volumes.

You know what, though?  Fuck the bigger picture.  Four years of character development, world building, and meticulous planning followed by five months of obsessive and labor-intensive writing have finally has paid off in something more than a collection of notes.   I have written a book that has a beginning, a middle, and an end (of sorts).  The words and ideas and characters have survived the translation from thought and ambition to finished page.

I'm not sure I really can adequately sum up the feeling of blissful payoff.  Chipping away at this monster night after night has turned into such an obsession that I hardly know what to do with myself otherwise.  I work and sleep, yes, and take care of other things on the weekends, but I've adapted every other bit of free time into moments tuned toward producing finished pages of script.  Evenings are essentially nothing but writing.  My solitary commute to and from work is when I retreat into my brain and work out unresolved scenes.  Even my cool down relaxation period before bed as turned into me lying in bed and editing dialogue on my netbook.

Writing is really such a self-absorbed and insular activity.  Tapping into that corner of your brain that produces breathing worlds and living characters involves pulling the plug on the outside world, and as such I've spent the better part of the past six month firmly ensconced up my own ass.  All things considered it's not too bad a place to be, but I'm looking forward to coming up for air.

The day in/ day out slog of writing is also a continuous exercise in suppressing the urge to share excitement.  When working on any extended creative work there are (hopefully) moments of inspired brilliance, and the urge is to reap instant reward by enthusiastically sharing it with others, but I firmly believe that giving in to this temptation dilutes the project and robs the people around you of the opportunity to experience the work in its intended form.  This applies to any form of art or entertainment.  Describing a song in progress reduces the finished song to be.  Sharing a written exchange of dialogue starves the moment of context and accompanying visuals.  The best course for anyone in the throes of creation is to shut up, buckle in, and let the finished work speak for itself.

As such, finishing this script is an odd exercise in celebration and reward on a purely personal level.  Nobody but the necessary few will see it, and I'll have to wait months until the rest of the world can read so much as a single word in its intended art-accompanied glory.

Which, to some degree, just emphasizes my sense of accomplishment.  The finished book, while obviously fiercely personal, is for everyone else.

Last night, however, was just for me.