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Friday, February 4, 2011

The Whomp of Success

A few day ago, during revisions, I had the strangest whomp in the pit of my stomach. You know, that trapdoor, Holy Crap, Batman moment? This one I'd label Holy James Michener, Batman!

Old Mich can explain it better...

"Occasionally I come across one of my early books while waiting in the dentist's office. The first three pages, I see things that could be so much better. Then the next three pages will be so good, I can't remember that I did them. The ideas are not mine; they're more sophisticated, better phrased. I'm whipped between disappointment and exhilaration." ~James Michener

Most of my moments are of the former variety. I still have much to learn. But this whomp was entirely different. I had just read the best thing I'd ever written and I don't remember writing it. The whomp was filled with contracts and lists and reviews and opinions, some of them jaded. If you had told me before this moment I had a fear of success, I'd have said you picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. And now? I'd say you might be on to something.

I've had a taste of that next tier not long ago. I remember the knots in my stomach, the certainty that I'd say the wrong thing to my agent and the knowledge that I had. On many occasions. I remember the betrayals and the games and the disillusionment. Mostly, I remember the joy vaporizing.

Is it any wonder I fear returning to that place?

So here I sit, the goals and plans I'm so adept at crafting before me, unmet, already behind though it has been a mere two weeks since I dropped them into a spreadsheet. Are the expectations too lofty? The excuses too valid? Maybe. More likely, these missed achievements are the product of a warm cocoon of endless revisions and outdistancing perfection. For if the words are still mine, they can belong to no one else.

5 comments:

Marilyn Brant said...

Just thinking of you today, L.A., and wanted to say hello. I'm glad you had that wonderful moment this week. Sometimes, especially with writing, I think the world is too much with us...and it's a gift to be able to step back, look at everything anew and claim what we created. Wishing you good things ;).

Charles Gramlich said...

You've described the agony and the ecstasy to a "T". It's a scary, insecure world we writers live in. Only on the page can we feel secure. And sometimes not even then. Luck and courage!

the walking man said...

Oh good lord just write! You're insecurities are wasting time.

dcrelief said...

Excuse me, but aren't you 'writing in a vortex?' Must make it difficult to step off for a coffee and danish?
Take the Tardis out for a spin. We'll be here behind door #3. :)

L.A. Mitchell said...

@Marilyn-thankfully, it was only a moment. Or two. :)

@Charles-glad I'm not the only one willing to lay it out there ;)

@walkingman--I adore you. You are ever my reality dose.

@dc-that's right! No wonder my stomach was acting up. What would I do w/o my Vortex peeps?