Well it’s been a weird week.
My brain has been fragmented and sort of aimless lately, today is the first time I’ve sat down at my computer in about ten days. If I’ve ignored your comments I’m sorry, I’ll try to get to them soon.
I think part of my issue has just been traveling. Matt doesn’t travel too often really, but when he does, it seems to come in non-stop bursts. About half the time I go with him, on the idea that I can do my work as easily on the road as home. It never quite works out that way, traveling is distracting and tiring, but I’ve noticed that it can be just as disruptive when he’s gone and I stay.
We’ve been home for a couple weeks now though and I think I’m beyond post-traveling confusion. I always have a hard time getting started, but lately it’s been almost impossible. I watch people near me as I talk and realize that I’m zooming around like a bug, unable to settle. I don’t think this is travel fatigue anymore. I think this is my thesis. Or more accurately, the lack of thesis.
I’ve had this huge thing hanging over my head for the last year and a half, longer unofficially. Since I started grad school, the thesis has been the END. And it’s done, finished. Maybe not really, I’ll have things to work at after my defense I suspect, but since I sent off my manuscripts to readers a few weeks ago there’s been a sense of finality.
I am incredibly relieved. I’m not sure if anyone but myself realizes how impossible it is that I have completed a novel. It’s not the task that is impossible, but the “I.” I’ve felt good about myself the last couple years. I’ve actually been a good student, which is amazing. It’s hard to explain to people that while I’ve always managed decent grades, (we’ll ignore freshman year) I’ve always been a HORRIBLE student. So I’ve been proud that for the last couple years I’ve been doing all my work, reading when I had reading to do, putting in a sincere effort. Funnily, even completing all my work I have such a habit of feeling guilty that I had a lingering sense of embarrassment, as though if I stopped speaking someone might look into the silence and realize I didn’t belong there. At the same time I felt like doing well in school was irrelevant, school isn’t real and I’ve never done anything real.
Writing a novel is real.
And now I’m done.
So here I am, deeply relieved that I’ve proved to myself that I can do something real, but suddenly lacking that clear, framed objective. I have a thousand projects to work on, but I can’t seem to settle a priority. I make the priorities mind you, but I change them a minute later.
I’m not complaining. If anything, identifying the source is comforting. Sooner or later I’ll figure out my direction again. I plan to start book 2 in May, which should help, assuming I can convince myself to make it a priority. Once I get final corrections done to my manuscript, I’ll need to start approaching publishers, which should also help.
Meanwhile, I need to decide to make things important. I’m still a student, but not really. In a couple months, I won’t even be in school on the technicality of thesis credits. I need to grow up and learn to drive myself outside of the academic structure. Wish me luck.