Chez Shaffner

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Today's Steady Progress

Today has been productive.

It would be fair to say that the reality of my situation did not strike me until today. After a morning hard at writing and lunch break at the gym, I looked at my cell phone to see whether messages awaited: someone from the office asking about an upcoming meeting, a client wondering about a presentation, a boss wanting a comprehensive update on the budgetary situation…. Instead my cell phone told me the time and date.

The feeling of true freedom is confusing. I don’t know that I’ve ever known it before today.

Normally there is at least the potential of something to keep you in line, but for me there is no one but myself. Of course, Keryn is there to keep me in check, but only if I get out of control. She is not concerned with my daily comings and goings…

I awoke at 7:30am and was seated at my desk soon thereafter. For two hours I updated my blogs. Then I headed to the gym. The 10:30am crowd is interesting: mostly retirees, trust fund babies, and college students. I wish the trainers made themselves more accessible; I find it difficult to request a spot.

Through the afternoon I worked on an essay I’ve been writing about my relationship with Keryn. I’m planning to submit it to a few contests this month. It is hard to write about myself so truthfully; thinly veiled fiction presents no challenge at all.

After several cups of tea I switch to my novel. This chapter has been revised twenty times before today, but the red-lined changes are valid and true. I am weary of this chapter although I know it to be one of the keys to my novel’s success. My frustration stems from a conception of the chapter’s perfection when it was an early draft. Though I pare it down and build it up each time readers comment, it remains a tragedy for my internal editor, who still believes the very first version was perfect.

In the evening I switch back to the essay. “Revisiting Histories,” it’s called. I emailed my final draft to Keryn this evening and she read it within the hour. She told me she almost cried, and this is a compliment I can hardly take. I think through the difficult words of the essay and smile.
“Is it good? Is it really?”

I cannot repeat it here, but I will tell you how it begins…

“From Boston we follow Route 1 through Lynn and Saugus and connect with I-95 a few exits before much of the traffic cuts toward Gloucester. Thirty minutes later, we pass the New Hampshire liquor and lottery warehouses and the infamous Hampton Tolls; traffic is blessedly thin, and I’m glad we left when we did.”

Tomorrow I am planning another full day. Instead of weights I will run along the Charles River. And I will finish revising a chapter of my novel. With luck I will accomplish more. Doubtless, I will spend too many hours at the keyboard.

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