Friday, October 4, 2013

35 words for magic

I have no time, I'm tired, need to go to bed. . . This process I'm in. This editing, re-editing, is far deeper and more challenging than anything I've experienced, I mean ever. Writing novels isn't for sissies (even if I feel like one), and editing definitely isn't. I'm currently in my third round just of my OWN revisions, never mind the editorial ones I'll be working on all next week. And I'm not through yet.

So what has happened to my passionate, stormy, sometimes-troubled but always compelling relationship to Harold Lloyd?

I'm discovering something shocking. I should have realized this before. The book isn't even about Harold Lloyd. It's about Muriel Ashford, the woman who pursues him obsessively over several decades. Harold is just her projection, her idee fixe, and exists only in her eyes. So how did I get on to this idea that I'd written a Harold Lloyd novel?

I couldn't approach him any other way. I too was "enmagicked" by Harold, got swept up. It's easy to be: the man gave off excitement and fizzing, popping sparks of charm. There was a rude obnoxious edge to him when he was a young knockabout, and I am not sure it ever entirely went away.

In the novel, I have to keep surgically removing certain things that crop up with alarming frequency. One is the word "magic", which, my editor tells me, I used 35 times. Nearly every time I see it now, I chop it off like a stalk of celery, and either come up with a decent synonym or just chuck the sentence out.

Did writing about Harold render me cliche-ridden?  I wonder. I don't remember falling into those things before. But never before did I take the risk of stepping over the boundary into that smudgy midnight phosphorescence, a reality in which everything subtly jerks up and down and runs at the wrong speed.

The things I've been going through just lately have been extremely emotionally draining. I'm shedding yet another skin, but only because I have to. The urgency is coming from within. She not busy being born is busy drowning in her own bile. But there's nothing I can do about that. It's my destiny to peel back my own skin, to persevere.

So the covenant remains, the initial passion now shading into stamina, the need to continue.

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Thistledown Press