First of all, I want to say "Congrats" to Norm for his sale!! It's exciting to hear such good news. I'm not at that point yet, but I did send off my third novel to my editor. I feel it's money well spent. I'd rather have my editor point out the blunders I didn't notice, or tell me I need an additional scene here and please pull that awful sentence there. It will take awhile, this editing, but while I wait, nearly finished with one project and eager to begin another, this in-between time exits.
Professionals in the farming community call this the neutral zone. I like having a neutral zone. Endless possibilities hang out here. Even though I know what my next project should be ~ I could change my mind and do something different. I did that once, I veered from my historical family saga and wrote a science fiction romance about a werewolf prince and his soldiers. The change did me good. And I enjoyed that genre so much, I'm working on my third book. Just thinking about Ralph and all his wolf people makes me want to delve into that story again and
find out what happens to his brother Renzo. Or I could pursue a publisher for my sci-fi romances.
But my characters Ruffie, Hattie and Jim from my family saga urge me to write about them. And the dilemma of what to do churns within me. The neutral zone is an exciting, but dangerous place to be. I feel pulled by so many interesting characters and if I doze off thinking about which direction to go ~ my dreams are riddled with the characters of one book invading the territory of anothers. The time for decision making has closed in. Which avenue of intrgue should I travel?
The first time this happened to me ~ this neutral zone ~ I panicked. I felt overwhelmed first by the sense of loss because my book was done. Then the rush of ideas assaulted me, and the poem below came from that confusion. My journal states I revised "The Torrent of Words" in June of 1997. I don't remember the exact date I wrote this poem, guess it doesn't really matter, but it was long before 1997. And please understand, I am not a poet, but I do put my thoughts on paper occasionally and I apologize in advance if my poetry doesn't abide all the rules. But as I re-read my poem about the neutral zone the other day, I felt the same sense of wonder and yes, a ring of alarm on how to proceed in my writing career.
So, to those of you out there in the neutral zone ~ you are not alone. The emptiness you feel is real and so is the avalanche of ideas that may come at you from every direction. It is merely another part of the writing process.
The Torrent of Words
They flow quick, like water rushing over a damn, pulling me deeper into their swirling current.
Bits of phrases shoot through me and I struggle to grasp their meaning.
Words rush forward, faster, stronger.
I fight to stay afloat, wondering how they fit together.
I must slow dowan - or I'll drown. Yet I swallow more, more.
Keeping pace, I grab thoughts and shove them together, hoping,
thinking to sort them out when - if - a calmness comes.
But the words keep surging, calling me. I can't stop them, they keep coming, one upon the other.
They mean no harm, not really.
They're like a child in want, crying, raging, waiting for me to help them.
I must stay afloat, but I feel weak, helpless. Their strength, the strongness of their thoughts overpower me.
They say too much too fast, and I can't remember what it is I should say.
I'm drowning in my futile attempts to understand.
My brain, saturated with too much, grows heavy, burdened with the overflow. I can't hold it.
I must let go or drown.
I let the words pour out, feeling faint, weak, but alive,
as the chance of understanding slips through me.
In my weary state, I'm too exhausted to care. I've lost the chance. The battle done.
The words splash past me in their victory,
but I'm too weak to care. Yet tomorrow - yes, the surge will rise again,
and I will stand ready
To understand why. Why the words keep pulling me. Filling me,
calling me to help.
What is it that I'm to understand?
Til next time !