Hiatus, Respite, Gap

In the big red book The Synonym Finder there’s an inch and a half list of words for taking a break. A poet creates a break in the middle of a line and calls it a caesura. Physiologists call the teeny space between neurons a synapse. Opera goers call it intermission. I call it frustrating.

The rewrite of my novel is done for now. I’m waiting for proof copies to arrive on the front porch and then I’ll wait for my much-appreciated first readers to get back to me with their reactions. Wait, wait, wait. After a year of work, work, work, the waiting feels wrong. I’m restless. I devour mystery novels like bonbons. I scribble in my journal and feel like I’m cheating if I write without a goal.

Waiting is part of writing, my least favorite part. Why am I not creating a text to share with a reader? I guess it’s about recharging, like one of those plug-in cars. Or being pregnant. Driving across country and obeying the speed limit. Some things cannot be rushed. The testing stage of writing cannot be rushed because it now involves other people. In this case, the people who push the buttons on the machinery that prints the books, the folks who see that the books get into boxes with address labels, the people who drive the big trucks that carry the books to me, and the people who will read and take the time to tell me what’s good and what’s not so good.

After all that waiting, I will fix what’s broken or add what’s missing. And then–almost there–I’ll wait for people to buy the book, read it, talk about it and tell me if all this time I’ve invested in it was worth the wait. Writing is not about instant gratification. It’s about interacting with a world beyond my control, and there’s a seven-inch list of synonyms for control.

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