Saturdays are normally editing days.
Arielle comes over, unleashes her laptop and makes many hmm sounds as she deletes sentence fragments, realigns fractious paragraphs and clears up confusing points-of-view. She makes my work better, often over my objections, and this time around she appears to really like the book I‘ve done, unlike an earlier novel of mine she termed, “not your best work.”
This weekend, however, her Britches and Hose Theater Company is presenting Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, which she directed, so the call of the stage supersedes the call of the page.
My home goes up for sale again next week, so I will spend the day doing small household things. I’ve already fixed the oven door, replaced washers in the laundry room sink, and adjusted the float in the downstairs toilet. I need to wash the windows. I should repaint the dining room ceiling, but probably will not. My back still hurts from breaking ice in the driveway following a late winter storm, and anyway, I hate painting. I will take photos of my favorite car, now wrecked, for posterity (and the lawyer). I will check on the fish in my pond and change the hamster’s bedding. I will vacuum and dust and mop and in time accept the fact that this is make-work. I am doing all this because I don’t want to write. I really, really don’t.
Yes, okay, I’m writing right now, but I don’t WANT to.
It’s not writer’s block, it’s writer’s futility. I don’t know how many millions of words are cranked out daily by people like me, but at times, I sense I’m simply adding to word pollution. Everything that can be written has been, in all languages, and quite often—unlike most of my stuff—without the desperate need of an editor. It’s an unsettling feeling, since words have been the mainstay of my life, and not that long ago I really did think of myself as an above-average wordsmith. I still believe words are the most powerful force a human can wield, and that writers carry history on their backs. Today that load seems a bit heavy.
I may go to the mall and sit at Barnes & Noble. I may go see a bad movie (Kong beckons), and eat a couple of Seven-Eleven quarter pounder hot dogs, always a solace. Or I may not.
Today, Saturday is just one of those days.