I cleaned up after a party this morning. Not a newsworthy item, you say? Fair comment. But it's a kind of new thing for me. My routine is to clean up after a party the night of the party. Guests leave, I head to the kitchen and put on my apron and rubber gloves, tie my hair back, and start in a-scrubbing. But last night the guests left and I yawned, and poured a last glass of wine, and said, in effect, to hell with it. Who is this guy, and what has he done with the old me? Maybe as you get older the idea of delayed gratification makes less and les sense. Drink now, sleep now, play now, for now is all the time you have.
And maybe I was just too tired.
It struck me, as I was washing burnt bits from metal surfaces in unfamiliar sunlight (not the dish detergent, which would be familiar, but the actual stuff pouring through the kitchen window - like I said, my usual party clean-up is a deed of darkness), how writing is like eggplant. I know I've compared the act of writing to exercise and prayer, making it sound active and empowering to the writer, but there is a lot about writing that is passive, demanding, absorbent.
Writing sucks up your time and attention, as eggplant sucks up oil. You pour all of yourself into your writing, and it's not enough. I've been working on the zombie book for months now. I finally finished my draft yesterday, and felt pretty good for an hour or two. Then ... the eggplant needed more. I got to worrying. Couple of the scenes might be too slow. Couple of characters aren't as strong as they could be. Couple of jokes aren't as funny in restrospect as they were when I wrote them.
I was thinking I'd be able to take a week off, but now I wonder. Maybe I'll start pouring myself into the book again on Monday or Tuesday. Sigh.
Eggplant is one of my favorite foods. But there are times when I long for something less demanding. I wonder if there's a career that's like bread and butter, or apples. Yeah, an apple sounds good right now.