Saturday, August 13, 2011

So Deep In Shadow

August 13, 2011

Dear Diary,

I am feeling a bit desperate. And more than a little depressed. I think it has something to do with writing this book. Or not writing it.

I woke up this morning with my ears ringing and my neck hurting. I felt like I was in a deep black hole. I had been dreaming about holes. Holes in somebody's back yard. Holes filled with leaves and dirt. I was dreaming about some old friends finding black shoes with holes in them.

As soon as my eyes opened, I realized that I was feeling kind of desperate, like my mind was glued in thick tar. I got up and made coffee and sat down to meditate and when I got up from the meditation table, I was still feeling that dark sticky tar gluing me down.

A few minutes ago I decided that I had write. But even the thought of writing frightened me. I haven't wanted to admit it, but I am kind of terrified that I cannot finish this book. Maybe my writer friend Peg is right when she suggested a few weeks ago, when we got together to write, that I just don't want to finish the book.

If you look at the date on the last chapter, July7th, it's been over a month since I last wrote anything. That is so unusual for me. Normally, I can't keep myself from the computer. For so many many months, I was writing like a demon. The words and images just poured out of me. I could hardly keep up. It seemed like I had an unending supply of energy and inspiration to write.

I would wake up long before dawn with my head on fire with ideas. It was exhilarating to write. It was thrilling. It was, as I tell people, like a drug. But now I find myself on the other side of that exhilaration. Mired in tar and sludge. Inspiration feels very very far away.

No. The truth is that I cannot drag myself to the computer. I dread waking up to mornings like this one.

Why should I be so frightened? What is stopping me from writing? I have dozens of chapters, and a solid story line, and I even know the key to the story. I know how and why Antonie died. I know how the story is supposed to unfold. I've told so much of it already and I have the ending vaguely in my head, so what's wrong?

Peg said it best: if you finish the book, you're afraid you'll never write another thing. You're afraid you won't be a writer anymore.

That's certainly true. But that isn't the only thing.

I am afraid that seeing the ending I will say "big deal." I will feel like after all these years, after all the thousands of pages I've written, in the end, it won't have been worth the trouble. I will feel embarrassed that I wasted my time. And that I wasted the time of so many readers. And even, that I wasted my friend Peg's time, as she's devoted so much energy to reading this book.

When I look at it that way, it's no wonder I can't write. It's no wonder that I am scared.

But I need to write. I am desperate to write.

And so Mary, I always return to you when I am desperate. You have never failed me before. All those months I was in the throes of chemotherapy back in the summer of 2002, when I was bald and so weak that I could barely lift myself off the lawn chair, I would pray to you, and it never failed. You always came through. Something, some tiny thing, shifted, and my pain and despair lifted. I saw a light again. When I prayed to you, I felt like I was protected. I always saw myself tucked beneath your flowing blue veil. I remember so clearly, those hot days, when I would pray and amazingly, I felt better.

I am praying again. For inspiration. To finish something I committed myself to finishing. For better or worse, I have a job to do here. To clear Renata's name. Please help me see the way through.

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