Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day Thirty-Four: Only Half Sick

Moira laces her five inch heels. Arwen slips on her runners. I wiggle into Moira's flip flops and I follow the girls out the front door. I'm wearing Michael's grey bunny hug and my grey 3/4 sweatpants. I snap pictures of the girls. Moira is wearing a long white sweater and skinny jeans, swinging her arms down the runway. Arwen is wearing a green bunny hug with blue mitts and touque. She walks backwards. I love to see my girls get on the bus, but it's a sight I only get on sick days. I'm shivering half way down the lane. It is not flip flop weather, but this is all I'm giving my treaty walk today.

I've planned my day like this. I had booked half as a personal day, and half as a medical appointment day. But I'm too exhausted, and a bit dizzy, and if I drive to Weyburn I'll be full-out sick, so I've cancelled. I plan to write in the morning and rest in the afternoon.

Rather than writing, I'm doing dishes, making breakfast, folding laundry, sweeping floors, and I can feel the panic building. Ever since the FN Literacy Leadership meeting last week, I've had this achy, burning desire to get back at my novel, honour those elder stories that were shared with me on my last trip to Black Lake. I need to do morning pages, so I sit down with my coffee and write.

Today is Donna Friesen's Birthday. From age seven or so to age thirteen or fourteen we were bosom buddies, table tennis partners, sit up partners, she pitched and I played short stop, Kelly on first base, Jeannie on third, or maybe Donna played second and Jeannie pitched, so who was on third? Maybe Hiedi? No. She would have been older. Anyway Happy Birthday Donna. I love you and have so many good, great, wonderful memories.

Oh, I would rather do just about anything than the one thing that I want to do the most and that is finish my first draft of Call to the north. It's so big. So special. So loaded. So over the top. And yet, it's not. Lots of people have birthed much bigger novels than this and yet I would rather do laundry, dishes, floors, counters, build a fire, take pictures, read, blog, query, light a fire, light candles, artist date, yard work, go to school, write an article, do an author's visit... and the one thing I am supposed to be doing -- finishing that novel -- seems almost impossible -- so maybe I need to have novel walks or novel talks and count the days. So this is now Day One: Novel Talks or Novel Rocks and I am figuring out a way to enter back into the writing process and I really need to clean my office so that I have a work space that when I leave it remains as it was and so that when I return I never really left, and I'm a little worried I am procrastingating, yet again, because here I have a wide-open morning, but I am turning to cleaning rather than "writing" or rereading so that I can continue the writing.

God, can you help me. Can you still my mind and give me supernatural clarity, energy, hope, insight, wisdom, kindness, creativity, and fun today so that this novel will begin to shape up in a good way.

Go get your yoga mat.


Yoga mat is on the dining room floor and I just did a couple morning -- or sun -- salutations -- I do believe. I am stretched. Clearer and breathing a bit deeper and harder. Very good. Very good. But here comes the panic again. My coffee mug is full, I have a bowl of grapes, a small glass of water, a stretched out spine and I only have about 28 lines to get my shit together -- yes -- I said shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. How's that for a lot of shit together. Wha ha ha ha. That's fun. No I mean it. I want to light a fire. I want to do something symbolic. Maybe with each page I read I burn it --ooh -- how yummy. But what is the purpose of that -- letting go -- pyromaniac-ness.

Eat a grape already, Sheena. Swig a coffee to block that raging mind. You're just writing a love letter. And you're good at that -- loving people. Yes. The book is actually about love. Thank you Shane Peacock. Faith. Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love. Thank you Michael. So the one liner is a young girl who travels north longing to love and be loved in challenging times. And the one word is love. So the elder stories are about Love. The teacher's journals are about her love for the people. Yes, it will be a love letter (and I can do that!)

I gather wood from outside and build a fire. I begin reading my manuscript. The tension is building. By the end of chapter four, the conflict is THERE. Now to transition to the north, but it must be a love letter. Shane Peacock says every book should be summed up in one line and then again in one word.

A girl and boy look to love cross culture during difficult days.


Now, rest.

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