Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Book Proposal. Or Climbing Everest.

So, I'm nearly finished with my book proposal.

The one I've been getting up at 4:30 in the morning to write, when I'm not hitting the snooze button, or laying in bed convincing myself that I need to sleep more than I need to be an author. The one I obsess about in the shower, the one that pisses me off when I look at what I wrote the day before - the stuff I am sure is pure genius - only to find I have written barely intelligible, boring, put-you-to-sleep dribble. The one that makes me feel like I must have been on the pipe when I thought I should try to be an author and what the hell was I thinking when I started this whole stupid exercise because I could be spending my days watching kittens fart on You Tube and feel completely fulfilled and happy.

Yeah, that freakin' book proposal.

Anyway, I handed a draft to David last weekend. I gave him everything but the sample chapter and recipes, which I am doing now. He read it, handed me back a manuscript filled with red notes and underlinings and suggestions in the margins. It was like a mad English teacher had taken speed and gone nuts with the red pen. Anyway, David's notes were right on and he ferreted out that thing I knew was weak about the book and we had a long, productive discussion that helped me work through the problem.

Okay, great, but then, something happened. I just stopped. I slept through my alarm. I couldn't focus on the words. Everything I had planned to write left me. I was in a perpetual state of being pissed. The stuff I did write was just bland, vanilla. I ended up hating the whole project and started obsessing in the shower about the next project I have on my list, which is re-vamping a completed, but problematic novel I wrote a few years ago that I know exactly how to fix now.

So, I did the only thing I knew to do - I called "the coach" which is what I've been calling David because when I want to lie in bed and sleep in, he whacks me in the head with a pillow and tells me to drag my ass out of bed or I'll always be a ghostwriter, writing other people's books, and never my own and then, shamed, I drag myself out of the warm covers and trudge to my computer while it's still dark and no one in their right mind is awake.

So, the coach tells me I am at Camp Four just before the summit on Everest. And since he likes to talk about Everest and using Everest as a metaphor for all of life's various struggles, he told me that it's cold there, beyond cold, my fingers are stiff, I can no longer feel my feet trudging step over molasses step in the snow, everything is a chore, it takes a half hour to put my socks on, I'm nauseous all the time, I have to boil snow to make a damned simple cup of tea, I want to turn back, call it quits, go back to my bed, my family, all the things that give me comfort, but something pushes me out of the tent, adrenaline, fear of being still, the desire to get this shit over with, once and for all, face down the beast, prove myself, refuse to go back home without the trophy. And there's the dream, the dream, the dream, pulsing somewhere behind me like a broken neon sign, the thing I've always wanted...

And this would have been inspiring, but he said the whole thing pretending he was talking through an oxygen mask and so, it just made me laugh. But it's 4:30 in the morning, as I write this, and I am up at it again. Banging away on the keyboard. Hoping for something. For better or worse. I see the summit just up ahead.

xo YM



Christine said...

Rooting you on over here in Philadelphia. Would it help if I hummed the Rocky theme song for you? (Just say yes, because just thinking it landed that mofo square stuck in my head.)

Go you!

Allison said...

good luck! you can do it, kim. i'm not very good with mountain metaphors as i'm not too outdoorsy. i'm going to go with "show that mountain who's boss!"

seriously, you've got so much talent and with david there encouraging you through fake oxygen masks, i know you'll get it all done.

Cheryl Arkison said...

Awesome! Go for it. I submitted my own proposal last week and the process of creating it is indeed grueling. The Coach has it right! if I were closer we could type side by side eating chocolate ice cream.

Lauren said...

You can do it!!!

Skattebol said...

Good luck!! I am submitting chapter 3 of my dissertation proposal tomorrow and your husband's analogy to climbing Mount Everest is right on; and helped motivate me to get off the internet and back to writing!

Anne Stesney said...

I know I'm late to the comment game on this one, but I just want to say-you are an excellent, gifted, amazing writer. You got the knack and the words and the voice. You got it. Done. Finished. But give yourself permission to write shitty. We all do. Sometimes the shitty stuff has to get dumped out so the good stuff can make it's way to the top. Like a clogged pipe. See? Another metaphor, though much more mundane than David's.

I am now going to read your other posts because it's been too long and I adore your stuff.