Wrapped and Sealed with a Bow

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Act one, 6000 words. The writing is done. Now it’s just formatting – or as I like to put it, let’s play ‘tab, tab, tab’.

*groan* And you know, I don’t even feel I can properly bitch about the formatting I’m facing because I’m old enough (uh-oh, here she goes) to remember those black and white typewriters with keys two inches off the board. I spent the beginning of my work career on one of the very first electric typewriters that had a small memory chip; I think I could input one page first and then it would type it all out at once. It didn’t have a big screen, only a very small one about 2-3 inches across. I could read half a sentence at a time. And no preview, no spell check, no auto correction whatsoever – so when that page finally came out, I just had to HOPE I’d made no huge errors in spelling or formatting. If I did (and I often did), it was back to square one.

My computer is so much easier! Yes, I’ll sit today and hit the tab button unimaginable amounts of times. Yes, I’ll do all my formatting by hand. And yes, I’ll be happy about it, thank you, oh computer gurus of the world.

Anyway. The fun part of writing is done with, for now. I had one of my not-so-secret manic wishes to get the first act done before break is over – which was far more about me being able to say (with feigned innocence) ‘Oh, that. I wrote that over the break, in a couple of days’ than anything else. I’m guessing from my inner need to have my ego stroked that I’m feeling like the little goody-two-shoes who hasn’t got a gold star in a while. Pat me on my head. Tell me I’m a good girl. Christ, you’d think by now I would have grown out of that! But that’s my ego. In the meantime (thankfully) my brain hasn’t been concentrating on that too much. I am too far gone.

Pulled my head out of my computer at 2 in the afternoon yesterday with a gasp. An audible gasp. I was working on the final lines of the act, knowing I’d read that a standard playscript generally runs about 18,000 words so my head said ‘Oooo! 18,000 words divided by 3 acts! That’s 6000 words an act’. Down, down, down the page my words crept. Up, up, up came the word total. And just like writing on this blog, I managed to wrap up the act in a natural place within 2 words of my word goal. Even got a final joke in as the curtain closes. But my brain wouldn’t stop. I had a headache – still don’t know if those are coming on due to caffeine withdrawal or WHAT; feels like I’ve just thought too much and my brain is swelling against my cranium. And I’m stuck in that world right now. Stuck in the living room with the Clarkson family as their world tears apart. Can’t shut it off. Even when my bro talks to me it goes something like this: ‘Hey, I was thinking about [Judy’s going to announce she’s pregnant…yeah, that’ll work in the second act] so I thought I’d [what do I write for the characters? I mean, saying Charlie is a middle aged man just doesn’t convey enough to the actors] and then we can have dinner. How’s that sound?’ I just kind of nod my head and agree, tho I really don’t know what I’m nodding my head and agreeing to.

Really got to get myself back on schedule in the next few days. I’m sleeping in, not exercising, and without a doubt smoking too much. I’m also writing something that might be really good, so I’m not beating myself up too much about all the rest. Just noting it. Today I’ll put my shoes on and head out for a long walk in the fresh autumn air. Stop at the gym and sign up. Buy my lotto card. Try a bit of Dutch again (oh man! do I even remember anything?).

Stop freaking, Beeps. It’s only been a day – ONE day – not a couple of months!

Really?

Oh. Shit. I guess when you immerse yourself in some other world time moves differently.

The local forecast has changed from rain, possible rain, and more rain, to sun, sun, and more sun. So I’ll get out. Remember how to be human again. Not exactly sure what I turn into when I write, but it’s far from human. Doesn’t like the light at all. Smokes incessantly. Wants a dark room, with just the computer screen acting as illumination. And don’t disturb it! Gods, it’ll take your head off!

It takes a long time to come back from that.

Small goals. Breathing fresh air. Listening to what people say to me. Finding out what’s going on with everyone else. If I’m honest, it feels a bit like coming down off an acid trip. A little strung out and out of it. You KNOW you’ve been off in orbit and completely oblivious of everything for at least 8 hours. You’ve had loads of fun, but now you see stuff like the dust bunnies on the floor which are no longer cool, nor hold any answers to the universe, but are just bits of hair and old skin cells that you haven’t picked up yet. Your perception shifts back to the prosaic, and it’s a jolt. Always takes a day for me to readjust.

So I’ll do my chores. Take a shower. Try to wrap my head around some Dutch verbs. Ugh. It’s like putting myself back on a diet after indulging in a night of cake eating. This morning, tho, I’m clear. I’ve done well. I can let act one go. It may still need formatting, it’s sure to have typos I need to fix, but the story is done. I’ve wrapped it up and sealed it with a bow.

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