The library was closed yesterday, not because the Presidents whose Day it is cared nothing for literacy—they were a bit busy with other things—but because when City Hall is closed, so are we.
The kids were off school but in day camp and my husband had morning classes and afternoon appointments and my MIL was occupied with her own errands, so I had several hours to myself which I’d fully intended to use for writing, or maybe for thinking about writing, or maybe for intending to write but watching the eighth season to Would I Lie To You instead.
But just as I’d sat down and opened up my Odd Duck binder and plugged in my Odd Duck flash drive and opened up a browser window to fire up just one episode of WILTY . . . the screen informed me that I had no Internet access.
It wasn’t the computer—my desktop, tablet and phone all said our home network existed, but something wasn’t producing any of what it’s supposed to produce in order to fulfill its purpose as a source of Internet joy and pleasurably guilt-ridden procrastination.
I went downstairs and hit buttons and turned things on and off and called the provider to listen to a message saying everything was fine on their end, so whatever wasn’t happening was our fault (I’m paraphrasing).
I’m one of those writers who is always asking the Universe/Powers that Be/Deity of my Choice/Random Banana Peel Generator/Available Magic Eight Balls for constant signs that I’m not fooling myself with this writing business.
Am I supposed to be a writer? Am I supposed to spend my time plugging away at this particular story? Is this really what I’m meant to be doing when there’s so much more to the world than a keyboard and the inside walls of my own imagination and the television remote has been left unguarded and there are three full cartons—not boxes, cartons—of Girl Scout cookies in the house?
Apparently, today, the sign was clear and the answer a very definite “Yes, you idiot.”
So I sighed, sat down, and dove in headfirst.
Four hours later, I had hammered out most of the continuity wrinkles and plot changes and obvious stupidities up to roughly chapter twenty-two and added [NOTES IN BIG, BOLDED BRACKETS] about what scenes and details I’ll need to add to make things make sense, things I need to research to make sure the writers of that half-remembered episode of Law & Order hadn’t fudged their details, and a legal pad of side worries about whether or not I need to get rid of a character or maybe even a subplot.
I also had the shakes, so I stopped for lunch.
Then I dove back in for another hour or two, until I hit a strange place where parts of one chapter and parts of another seemed to mesh well, but not for the book I thought I was writing. The rest did appear to fit the book, but not necessarily with each other on a temporal level.
Or something. Not sure. It honestly could have been me.
But I’d tipped into the Just Get It Done Now mindset, so I printed both chapters, planning to do some literal cutting and pasting, and also maybe some shredding and directed fireplay, because I was starting to develop mental blocks made of exhaustion and compressed short-term memory loss and when you reach that point, self-righteous shredding and the burning of sage seem perfectly reasonable reactions to plot confusion.
But then the WiFi returned and so did the kids.
I saw that as a sign, too, and knocked off for the day before I did any actual damage.
Probably. I hope.
I’ll have to take a look after work today.
You know, unless the WiFi is working.