Tuesday, August 09, 2005

the wall

Headbanging is for the music crowd. I'm not sure just what segment, which shows just how out of touch I've become. Nonetheless, it's not for me. Yet over the last few weeks, it has been my modus operandi.

There I am at the page, in the middle of Scout's bedroom, trying to decide just how the next scene will unfold, and smash, I'm there, banging my head against the wall. This entails staring at either the printed pages, marked with pink ink - okay, really destroyed with pink ink - or at the computer screen marked Chapter 6 and its blinking cursor. This lasts for what seems like hours but turns out to be only a couple of minutes before I decide I should fill my coffee cup. I push back the chair and wander to the kitchen, pour the coffee, put away the dishes, straighten out the cabinets, throw a load of laundry in the washer and rearrange the refrigerator magnets. (Why doesn't someone call me?) The kitchen meticulously organized, I wander back to the chair, look at the screen, and pick up Gumby. Gumby must be committed to his yoga. He is amazingly flexible. I light some incense and get out my yoga mat. Sitting in strained lotus, I try to breathe. (Shouldn't have had that last cigarette.) I try to get centered, but my mind is scattered with words unwritten. "Become one with the breath," I tell myself. This seems to help. I clear my head and stand in mountain pose. I begin the sun salutation. After five repetitions, some of the stress is gone, but the page is still calling.

Back to the computer. I read through the scribbles on Chapter 6, cross through all of it and pick up the pink pen. I open the spiral notebook, it's pages clean, begging for brilliance. I close my eyes and begin again. This time the words make sense. Scout makes sense. She does exactly what Scout would do. I write like crazy - scratching through only a few poorly chosen words. Six pages later (back and front) I am ready to touch the black keys. I highlight the entire Chapter 6 and hit delete. I type in the entire new chapter and when I glance up above the screen, the wall is gone. I am observing as Scout gets to know her friend Alex. The sky is blue. The wind blows through my hair. The sun is bright. The chapter is finished.

Then I see it...those words that inspire fear in the even the most brave writer...Chapter 7...I think I should have another cup of coffee.

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