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Friday, January 27, 2012

A Morbid Little Blog

Once Upon a Time I was pretty sure I’d live forever and have all the time and energy in the world to write whatever I wanted.
Then time sped up. Decades passed in a blur. The rate of death around me rose from the rare, hideously tragic, premature death, to the more mundane sad but not entirely unexpected. Now I find myself able to discuss the relative merits of various funeral/memorial styles with aplomb, and have opinions on how I'd like my own "celebration" managed.
Which makes a woman start asking herself this: If it takes a year or two to write a book, and a year or so to find the right home for it, then a year or two for that home to kill all the necessary trees or whatever it is they do that takes them so long to get the damn thing printed... Well, she begins to wonder how many more of those cycles of waiting, and rejection, and waiting, and hope, and waiting, does she have left in her? How many more can she stand?
And she asks herself this, too: Remember that guy* with locked-in-syndrome who had to blink out his exquisite little novel The Diving Bell and the Butterfly?  letter by letter with his one good eye? 
Shouldn’t we, (and by “we” I mean “I”) concentrate on writing only the stories that are so dear and important to us that if we had to, we’d blink them out?

That leads to the other question: Which of my books would I have written if I’d had to blink them?
Oy!

Laziness being as it is, I know I’d sooner eat whatever they served me in the home than blink even my menu selection. 
None the less, a new book must be started. Never mind that beginnings are not what they used to be. Never mind that if I swam, which I don't, I'd have to enter the pool from the ladder now, rather than the high board.

Never mind that I can no longer just jump in, tra-la-la, and start banging away at any old book. I can't pretend not to know how l-o-n-g and hard the process is. Can't trick myself into thinking it will be easy.


So, it has to be a book worthy of the countless future hours and months of straining to get it right, of the sore back and stiff fingers and furrowed brow, and eye strain. Worthy of self-inflicted misery, insecurity, pacing and re-writing and sleeplessness and self doubt. 

Because even if it’s not “blinking” it’s still blinking.  
And even if we're feeling fine, we never know which book will be our last.

xo
Amy  

*Jean-Dominique Bauby

25 comments:

MarkLWilliams said...

yup.

Debby Garfinkle said...

Well said.

Colleen Ryckert Cook said...

This post struck the proverbial chord with me.

Alexis O'Neill said...

"Oy" is right!

Kimberley Troutte said...

I agree 100%. You've got to love the story more than anyone else because (if you are anything like me) you'll write and rewrite five or six times and that's BEFORE an editor gets her/his red pen on it.

It's an awful lot like looking in the mirror at the end of the day. Do you like what you see? It may just be your last book and you don't want to be caught with your hair sticking up on one side, or spinach in your teeth.

Amy Goldman Koss said...

sigh

Amy Goldman Koss said...

Thanks!
XOXO

Amy Goldman Koss said...

XOXO!

Amy Goldman Koss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy Goldman Koss said...

Maybe we can dance to it!

Leigh Purtill said...

Right on, Miss Amy! Maybe you need to adopt that attitude the next time you go out with a book: "Look, Mr. Editor, I don't have TIME to wait for you. Publish it or move on, let's go!"

Rosalind R. Oliver said...

I forgot about the blinking guy. God bless him. I don't find this morbid at all, it's encouraging. You always give me something so good to chew on. I'm off to blink for for awhile- because even if it's not "blinking" it's still blinking. I love that! xo

Amy Goldman Koss said...

Will practice in the mirror.

Amy Goldman Koss said...

You are such a sweetie pie!!!!

Cheryl said...

A true, thought provoking post. With that said, here's to another 20+ Amy books.

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

Here's blinking at you, kid.
Sincerely,
20/50 Vision

Amy Goldman Koss said...

Thanks!

Amy Goldman Koss said...

And back at cha, Cheryl!

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

This is beautiful. I've been thinking like this for a while now but never put it in words so nicely. I think you've inspired me. Thanks :)

ann paul said...

Amy, I LOVE your blog. You're one of a kind. Keep the articles coming. Then collect them into a book.

Susan Patron said...

You made the connection to death, Amy, and Bauby makes the connection back to life through creation, no matter how overwhelming the cost. I'm so inspired by this. Many thanks.

Amy Goldman Koss said...

XO!

Amy Goldman Koss said...

Aw, Ann...

Amy Goldman Koss said...

Shucks.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Lots of food for thought here. Which reminds me - it's time for breakfast. ;-)

Truly, thanks for an inspiring, thought-provoking post.