Trying to Finish Books

Sometime in January, after having read Jay-Z’d Decoded I decided to start growing my hair and beard. In the book Jay-Z mentions that he lets his hair grow out when he’s making an album, and thus has a visual reminder of how long he has been working on a project. I thought to one-up his method by letting the beard and ‘stache go too. Which was not a very good idea.

By February I was distraught, going through bouts of both manic and depressive states, my beard had become a literal soup catcher, and my mustache had grown overlong, covering my lower lips and almost reaching the top of my beard. This of course made eating difficult, as the hair would impede the entry of food into my mouth —or even worse, it would attempt to escort the food as it entered my mouth. I was dealing with work issues, family issues, personal stuff, and topping it all off were all kinds of crazy pressure from all over the place. Of course these are unhealthy to one’s mental health, but then they make for great impetus for writing, and as Jonah Lehrer details in his new books Imagine (I highly recommend it, it’s such a great and compelling read), shifting back and forth between manic and depressive states allows for the two different kinds of creativity to manifest themselves and lead to increased artistic production.

February then saw me pumping out 30,000 words of a book of essays. That book has since been submitted to a digital publisher and returned to me with suggestions for revisions. Main problem and the thing preventing movement is that, well, I just haven’t felt like looking at the suggested revisions. I know that my wonderful editor and friend Tin Reynaldo put real effort into reading and editing my work (she is, really, seriously, one of the best people in her field, and she throws herself into each manuscript she works on and having worked with her I know that those edits are things that make the book much much better), but I feel like, “Eh, maybe later I’ll fix it. After Holy Week/When I finish replaying Mass Effect 2, before I start Mass Effect 3/When I get back from my Zambales trip.” Of course now Holy Week is two weeks gone, I’m back from Zambales, and I am eight hours into the Mass Effect 3 campaign and I still have yet to get around to revisions.

One of Tin’s suggestions was that I write some more essays for it. And I’ve started on those, but that’s slow going.

Even slower going is the novel. And it becomes harder and harder to answer friends, “So how’s your novel coming along.” After intense flurries of production (I’ll produce 1,000 words per day for a week or so, then drop off and have nothing), I’m still trying to find my way back to it.  I was recently accompanied by friends Paolo and Iona on a trip up to the Antipolo Church to do some research, but as of now I still have to get some words down.

I am using as an excuse the fact that grades were submitted April 10, and I had the 11th and the 12th to design summer syllabi, and then classes started the 13th. So really, there’s been no cognitive space for the kind of thinking needed for literary work.

Still, I’m pushing on. These two new essays are staring at me right now, and I keep putting them in the spaces panel of my mac and that panel is starting to weight heavily on me. In that panel too is the novel, and I feel like it too is glaring at me, telling me that it’s time for me to get on with it.

I feel weak and I feel tired. Last year beat me up pretty good. And the beating continued ’til the end of the semester. I got to hit Zambales with some good people this last weekend, and that was like coming up for air after drowning. I think I’m starting on a roll because I finally got paid, and I just found out that I’ll be going to Oxford (if I can find the funding) for the First Global Graphic Novel Conference to present a paper. And maybe I can find the impetus, amidst all of this, to finally get back to those books and bring them out.


2 Responses to Trying to Finish Books

  1. yeah, i understand that lack of cognitive space. i still owe dr. lee a final paper, haha! anyway, you can do it, carl! and congratulations on the oxford thing, susyal!

    also, thank you for the update and your kind words. i really appreciate them. still gonna hound you for revisions, though. :p

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