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June 13, 2008 Posted by tahir in Travel

Thank God it's...

It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that I’m stressed. I’ve been stressed all day, juggling with a book proposal that’s taken months of thought, gallons of sweat and the occasional tear. When I started out with it, I thought I’d cracked it right away. I patted myself on the back, pampered myself for working so hard, and relaxed.

My agent asked me to rework the pages, inject some new ideas. To tell the truth I felt a little bit sick, as if I was a spent force. It was like returning to a half-eaten meal. Tasted all stale and cold. But I nudged away at it again… and again… and again. Each time, I was asked ever so politely to do a little more.
I’m on the seventh draft now. There have been times when I have cursed, shouted, waved my fists. On drab winter afternoons I would sometimes open the window in the dining room where I am working, and yell out. It sets the donkeys off in the shantytown of course, and then the dogs, and the geese. But I feel I have to vent. After all, a life without a little venting is no life at all.
So here I am, ploughing through draft number seven and — after six months of struggle — it looks as if it’s coming together. Yes while at first i was so smug, so proud, I now look at the work and see the faults in myself. It’s good, perhaps very good, but it’s just a thing… granted, a thing created from the confines of my imagination, but a thing nonetheless.
On some evenings, when I’m all hunched over the computer screen, I wonder about all the books that were almost written and never were. OK it’s a strange thought. But think of it. There must have been so many men and women of genius who were going to write, but who never quite managed to sit down long enough, or who hand to hold down a day job as well.
I think of those books… and recently I have thought of them a lot. Most of all because my proposal might be a book that is not quite ever written. I fear for it. At night I wake up worrying. What if something happens and I have to get a day job, a job in a sandwich bar, and the great book is never done — like the sculpture trapped in a block of stone?
Gulp. That would be terrible. I’d be racked with guilt my whole life. I’d feel like a failure. Or would I? Would it not be a release…? A release from this torment of themes and character arcs, wordage and symmetry. Oh yes… oh yes it would. It would be freedom.
But then, of course the writer’s secret ego — inside every writer whether they admit it or not (and most don’t) — would not be massaged. Without the book there’d be no arc of the ego.
And where would I be without that?
TS