The Party’s Over
The party I call my recovery from hernia repair is drawing to a close. The surgery was a week ago today, and aside from an occasional twinge, I’m feeling no pain. And no, the absence of pain is not the result of Percocet. I quit taking them Saturday night.
I planned to wean myself off the pain killers by increasing the time between doses. But I ended up quitting cold turkey, keeping the Percocet nearby, just in case I woke up hurting in the middle of the night. I woke up the next morning pain-free, and really haven’t had any to speak of since.
Of course, I’ve been taking things easy. I get up from my recliner to satisfy basic needs — ginger snaps, potty breaks, and long afternoon naps. Toodles insists on a walk every afternoon around five. We’ve gone a bit farther every day. Yesterday we walked our normal route at our usual rapid pace.
FMOE (my recent ex, aka Finest Man on Earth) continues to check in with me a couple of times a day to see how I’m doing. We’ve had dinner together a couple of times and Tico stayed with me and Toodles one night. He even brought me a box of Ginger Snaps — the brand I like and everything (Nabisco, if you must know — shipping address available upon request).
The extra time together helped us to get more comfortable with the way things are between us now. There are no words to express my gratitude for all he’s done for me, especially the last few weeks. I know it’s unfair to count on him to always be there for me. He doesn’t owe me anything. Never has. That he didn’t have to do anything is why I appreciate so much all he’s done.
Mostly I’ve been in my recliner, Toodles between my legs, torturing myself through major revisions to After Christmas Eve. I make it so far, then forget what I have and haven’t changed, and where I am in the story. Sometimes, I can back up a few chapters to get back into the flow. At some point, going back to page one and reading through, one more time, is the only way to figure out what I’ve done and haven’t done.
After restarting, I’ll break through whatever forced me to back up, only to hit another wall. If I can’t figure out how to move forward, I’ll do something else for a while. Play with Toodles, watch some television, take a nap, or if it’s late enough, go to bed. Sometimes that’s all I need to get past the wall. Then the time comes when nothing works but going back to the beginning, again.
Have a hard time grasping the pain and suffering involved with a massive revision? Try this. Read a book four or five times — if you haven’t written one yourself, any book will do. Read it again, only this time, think about what you’d change to make it better. Oh yeah, and while you’re at it, you need to make it work for a different genre. Now read it again, changing things up as you go the way you want them. Feel free to back up and start over as many times as you want. Lord knows I have. Once you’ve changed everything, read the whole thing again, just to make sure you didn’t miss something.
Knowing this week was my last chance for the next month or two for more than a few hours at a time to work on revisions kept me going. Being off from the day job gave me the freedom to ride any creative waves until they turned into foam in the sand. Knowing I had to go back to work kept me going back to the revisions — even when I was ready to throw in the towel.
Monday I got close enough to the end that when I got stuck, instead of backing up, I inserted a note and highlighted a section — my standard procedure for dealing with changes I’m not yet ready or able to make — and read through to the end. Tuesday I started back at the beginning yet again, smoothing out little wrinkles, making it even farther until I was too sleepy to keep writing. But I knew what was missing and how to roll it into the story.
Wednesday I backed up to chapter 40 (of 54), and by noon, had finally written my way all the way through to the end. I took Toodles for a walk, and then came back in to read the entire 65,000 word manuscript one more time. Then I sent it to a select few to read through to see if the changes make sense and if I missed anything when I was making them.
No telling how many more times I’ll read the manuscript before I send it back to the publisher. And once they accept it, I’ll need to read through three more times for changes they’ll want me to make. That may explain why I still haven’t read a paperback copy of Until Thanksgiving, though I hope to. One day. When the very idea of reading it one more time doesn’t give me a headache.
I’ll spend my last day off running errands, cleaning house, doing laundry and otherwise preparing for the return to work. Toodles won’t know how to act when I leave her for a day a the office. She’s so used to having me home.
Over the weekend I hope to revise the query, blurb, and synopsis for After Christmas Eve. Depending on what I hear back from my reading pals, I hope to resubmit the manuscript to Dreamspinner before Monday. Then it’s back to the grindstone. And after the dust settles and I’m caught back up, I can return to the first person narrative I abandoned to return to After Christmas Eve.
Such are the joys of a writer’s life. Thanks for stopping by,