I am writing at the pace of what feels like one word a minute. I stare into the computer, facing that screen, trying to push the words from my hands. Words are on the edge of my tongue, pushing up to the edge of my skin, almost making it through to the outside, slow to emerge. The Rolling Stones play in the background, their steady beat and lyricism of "Wild Horses," and my all time favorite, "Gimme Shelter," help my brain's chatter to dissipate a bit, putting me in the zone of feelings, a place where music takes me.
I've been putting many hours into my writing since Thursday, probably close to fifteen hours. I had an ambitious schedule, that I have almost met. After laboring all day Thursday over what felt like a terribly shitty first draft, I realized that it had promise, and I am now almost finished with my workshop submission piece. For several months, I've been pondering submitting a piece to Slice magazine for their themed issue on Obsession (due August 31st), and finally a week ago, I committed to myself and am revising and revising, hoping I have the nerve to send it off. Finally, I have a weekly 500-word assignment to complete, and feel like after breaking to eat, breaking to write this, I can return, able to generate the beginnings of a draft.
What I know I should do, but am too lazy to do at the moment, is initially draft it in my journal. If I remove the barrier of the keys, I usually am able to generate writing more quickly, even if rough, because I don't edit as I write. I tell my students never to compose initially on the computer, but I do. Even when it causes pain. Even when it threatens to interfere with my words.
When writing aches, as it has for a bit this evening, I am much more sympathetic to my students, ready to go into my writing classes tomorrow and talk about writing processes, sharing my advice, my truths, and ways I don't listen to my advice.
Back to the Stones.