I've often played little games of self-manipulation - setting the clock ahead and then pretending the displayed time is correct in hopes of making it into the office on a regular basis; loudly predicting that les Canadiens
will lose a hockey game so that the Hockey Gods (who, apparently, are of such a low level of intelligence as to make the Gods of Asgard look like an ale-reeking troupe of Shakespeares and Einsteins); and in general, low-balling my expectations of good fortune so that, if they do not come to pass I can comfort myself that I was right or, if by some miracle what I want does
happen, I will swallow the bitter pill of Error with a ladle of honeyed Victory.
Today has been a day of procrastination, of "sharpening my pencils", as they said in the good days. Not by intent, I hasten to assure you.
It began as Sundays often do, with The Toronto Stars
ridiculously easy - but big! - crossword (and yes, with the rest of the paper), most of a pot of coffee and a breakfast that left me feeling remarkably bloated - I say "remarkably", because honestly, a one-egg omelet, half-grapefruit, two slices of bag, 1 slice of toast and a small side of baked beans isn't that
much food in North America in 2008 - is it? Well, I suppose it goes some ways towards explaining my new, relatively svelte shape. But I digress.
I sat down at the the ol' keyboard, determined to put in my 1,000 words before getting back to the Hunt for the (Latest) Love of My Life - or even a temporary cuddle-buddy (yes, I love euphemisms
as much as
more than the next guy). But decided to check my friends' page before getting down to work.
And that damned sabotabby
had to go posting
about some discussions of Leonard Cohen which, in a not-all-that roundabout way led me to the SF writer Elizabeth Bear's LJ
, which in turn saw me spend literally hours
reading a year-old discussion about possible sexism in the SF field over at nightshadebooks.com
, of which I had previously been entirely unaware - Nightshadebooks, that is; well, and the discussion as well. (Also, if you're wondering about the masturbating vampire, see Bear's column over at Subterranean Press
. Another site of which I had had no knowledge.)
But I digress again.
Long story short, I didn't get my 1,000 words written today. And yet, I am feeling much better now about the novel than I was when I was deliberately procrastinating.
For the last week or so, I've been telling people that I was "closing in on" (or words to that effect) the 35,000 word-mark of what is tentatively called The Jewel of Eternity
(title almost certainly
going to be changed!), and felt like I was being, well, a trifle optimistic in saying so.
But, sharpening yet another already-honed metaphorical pencil, I decided to do a proper word-count. And ...
Ladies and gentlemen, behold the wonders that can come of downplaying one's expectations: 43,772
To say the number shocked me would not be an understatement. Nor that it made me suddenly feel much
better about the project than I had been. I have been more and more falling victim to Imposter's Syndrome, that belief the one is living a lie and might at many moment be called on it. That shadow still hovers at my back but its power is now much diminished.
Naturally, a lot of words doth not a good book make; nor even half a book. But discovering one is 10,000 words further along than one had thought is nevertheless very Good Medicine indeed.
I am also sticking to my vow not to read what I have written until the first draft is complete. As I think I've said before, this course of action naturally adds to my anxiety about the novel's quality, but continue in my belief that to do otherwise would be a recipe for unmitigated disaster.
And that's about it, really. Unless you care that for the second time in a week I dreamed that I was once again gainfully employed. In this one, for some reason, the boss brought in the best
chocolate cake I it had ever been my pleasure to consume. That was actually the only time I can remember having a dream in which taste (and what
a taste!) was an actual tactile sensation.
All right. That really is
: To all of you bitching about the winter: Shaddap! This is Canada, folks; we're supposed
to have snow on the ground in March - and plenty of it! Besides, we're not likely to see this kind of wonderful wintery wonderland again for a good long time. Find a hill and slide down it, or something.