It’s been a while. I wrote six posts in the first two weeks of this month, most of them about the same thing, and I think I needed a break from all of that. I’ve rarely felt like that – torn between the debilitating need to discuss something and the longing to be able to think about anything else. But I’m proud to say my book didn’t suffer in the midst of the mess.
I am behind schedule. I’d set myself the deadline of Easter, trying to finish the book during Lent. I knew it was pretty ridiculous, but needed a deadline to motivate myself. And as I learned during the two weeks I was a shut-in for the sake of my thesis deadline (subsisting on Rockstar Energy Drink and hardy vegetables, only leaving the apartment to treadmill and watch the last of the Bob Barker Price Is Right episodes), the more ridiculous the deadline, the braver you’re forced to be.
The book is starting to be something beautiful I never would have imagined at the beginning of this whole process (circa 2004), something that it was always somehow meant to be, something that it knew it would be, all along. The book knows, as Jamey always says, and its will is stronger. No matter how stubbornly I insist on my way, it wins out every time. But, if I didn’t fight it, would it know itself so well?
I haven’t really been counting new words as strenuously as I once was, because most of the new words are essential little sutures tying together fleshier sections that already existed.
However, for those of you numerically-minded folks, I’m looking at about 3,191 new words this week. Probably a few more, maybe closer to 5,000 since I only remembered to count the last 3 days. A more accurate accounting? I am finished with Section I and now Section II. I have reached page 206.
Who knows how long Part III will take, but I’m going to barrel on and see how much I can finish before my arbitrary, crazy deadline of Sunday, April 4th. That’s a little over a week from now. Let’s see how brave I can be.
I wrote those last words before I watched the video I’m going to give you in a sec. And I’m glad I wrote them, glad I watched the video and heard them echoed in the voice of a “girl who’s already half angel.”
Shortly before I started this update, I received Nick’s latest e-mail newsletter. He hasn’t sent one for a long time. We’d talked, so I knew why. His friend Gabrielle Bouliane, a poet, died at the end of January and he knew he needed to talk about her death, but he didn’t know how. He broke my heart when he eulogized a woman I’ve never met and said, “This is what artists can do. They stop time. They hand us a photograph of a moment and it stays there because of what they did, what they said, how they moved, what they gave us. Who knows what connects us then. Call it God, energy, the universe. But something jumps out of time and seizes us and says, Look. Look right here. Record this and put it in your pocket. You’re going to need it later.”
He said a few more incredible, personal things and he gave us a link to Gabrielle’s last performance before she died. I was moved more than words can say, for all of the reasons you might imagine from the quote above. I was honored and grateful that I got to see Gabrielle perform, that technology enables us, who never knew her, to see what she said and how she moved, a miracle that has nothing on her words. Thank you, Nick, for sharing a bit of her with me. I know it was hard. As Nick said, “What I do know is that more of you should have known her. She looked like this. She sounded like this. She still does:”