Being a surgeon is a lonely business requiring the stamina of a marathoner. This is true especially if the surgeon is operating alone with no nurses or assistant surgeons. The operating theatre is cold and necessarily sterile (although I admit to spilling coffee on the patient this morning). I feel like I’ve been at the operating table a long time and I’m not through yet. The Novel’s internal organs are spread out all over the place. It’s kind of messy but I feel that good progress on the inner workings of the story is being made.
Something strange is happening.
The timbre of the story is changing albeit in a very subtle way. There’s an air of anticipation, of…dare I say it…suspense. The arc of the story is more complex. I’m excited to see where it goes. I’m enjoying dropping hints, toying with my (imaginary at this point) readers as to what will happen next. It opens up the question of what is this story turning into? Is it just a drama with an air of suspense or is it a mystery involving two families? I have no idea…yet.
There are layers – layers that have formed after countless hours of daydreaming. You don’t often hear of daydreaming surgeons (thankfully) but writer-surgeons are different. The daydreams are making the difference. I always knew my teachers were wrong for criticizing my penchant for getting lost in thought.
Focused contemplation is something I often don’t relax enough to do. My mind wanders a lot but this is different. It’s concentration that requires relaxation – an odd dichotomy. Oh, wait. Sounds like meditation (which, historically, I suck at). It’s different from dithering – which I’m quite expert at. Call it disciplined dithering if you like.
The whole exercise is like walking on eggshells.
During the concentrated, relaxed focusing, I try not to worry the story too much (meaning interfere, nag, drag down with my own paranoia). In other words, I can’t mother it too much. Every time I find myself nagging it, I get up from the table and walk away. I do my worrying away from the keyboard. To the casual observer, I am an aimless wandering daydreamer. Not true.
There is nothing aimless about this strangest of processes,but how to explain to those who aren’t in the operating room with me? It seems I spend equal time justifying my characters actions to myself and justifying my own actions to others. No wonder my brain gets tired; by the end of a day I can’t speak or write.
In spite of the balancing act, the story is strong; the prognosis is good. I only wish I had a nurse or assistant to fetch cappuccino for me while I operate…