Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lapsang Souchong? I'd Have Died...

The pages of my manuscript lie flat before me like striations in dead slate.

I should prise them apart, reveal long-dead molluscs, invest all petrified life with a big-screen pseudo-undeadliness to rival Richard Attenborough’s best nouveau Jurassic efforts. Really, really, I should.

And this is the writer’s curse, n’est-ce pas? Resurrecting into seeming first flush of life those flashes — once brilliant, electrifying — now scarred by time’s toil. All those triply spell-checked visions, hobbling from hard return to hard return, hacked by the reaper blade of edits.

So I flick at the corners of the pages, skimming through thumb widths of dead space like a cartoon might present itself: some squiggles on a page that might actually feign life — yet all I have is air. A slight gust wafting unnoticed over my keyboard, barely drawing ripples from my mug of Jasmine tea.

Who drinks this stuff anyway? Call me pampered, but I’ve grown too accustomed to tea bags to put up with any of this roughing it “think of Buddha” kind of spoon-it-in-but-don’t-swallow-it kind of nonsense. And I can’t say the flavour is any better than PG Tips, whatever the monkey legend infusing the dream.

But maybe I’m being unkind to the tea-drinking pioneers who first laid down their Co-op 99 in favour of flavours new. It’s not their fault they invented a high-falutin’ beverage whose shriekingly high cost sits uneasily with the miserable delights that eventually drip from the tea strainer. Or maybe I’m drinking the wrong brand. Hmmm...Aldi’s own. OK.

So, hey, I may mock my predicament. Wrap myself up in coils sprouting from my skull, hewn of synapses thrashing for want of anything other than this. Don the tangles of nerve fibres embroidered by my feverish hands as I lie, eyes flitting from manuscript to blank wall, blank wall, blank wall — arghhhh! — in the sullen, Jasmine-infused temple of my self-inflicted misery.

Luckily, I found a Swiss army knife on holiday. It was lying between the rocks at the bottom of a lake, still buoyant from the joie de vivre of the Frenchman from whose slick-yet-shallow-pocketed swimwear it evidently must have slipped. So I’m going to try out the bottle opener on Chapter 18 later on today and see if I can inject some of my current misdirected misery into the gloom of life I wrote out for one of my characters some time in February.

I must be keen and heartless with the knife.

But I must not cut into the soul that first spoke to me.

Yipes. It’s like being a heart-and-head surgeon...


Scarlet-Blue said...

Happy editing. The sword is mightier than the pen!

Ello said...

Good for you! You can do it you lapsang souchong sipping master! Seriously I thought that was a dog breed at first and I'm a tea drinker!

I too am still caught deep in the miseries of revision, cursing myself, hating myself. I feel your pain.

Robin S. said...

First, it's bloody amazing how closely related we are in our bloody writing predicaments, my friend.

Second, my (well-earned by perosnal frustration) advice to you is - watch yourself and steel yourself against any no-nonsense-nut-cracking-painful-soul-sucking self-inflicted timetables-from-hell on this edit.

I'm not sayin just hang out and bob bon your way through fall. But I AM sayin, this year sucks large eggs with respect to any respect accorded new writers from the publishing world persective, from the recession, et al, and so...take your time. Not bob non time. But time, nonetheless.

Whirlochre said...

I see you've been reading The Arnie Book Of Quotations. Personally, I could never summon the strenght to get the darn thing open...

Oh for the miracle
of hoppy piggies
hoppy piggies
hoppy piggies

Oh for the miracle
of hoppy piggies
let joy abound
be glad

It's certainly looking Chateau Bummer out there...