Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pondering the Roots of Procrastination

I am completely procrastinating right now, and I have been for a couple of days, which is not a good thing when I need to have the second draft of the novel to my professor on the 16th, but there you have it. I sit down to write in the morning and think, oh, I want to write at night, then at night, oh, I'm really tired, I'll be better in the morning. I think I'm trying not to get this scene written.


Because after this, things get really bad for Matt, and he's already in so much pain. I think I may be trying to keep him from hurting. Or me. When the writing is flowing, I write from deep within my body. I feel what my characters feel. I cry when they cry, and even when they're trying very hard not to (which is what Matt's doing right now). It is as exhilarating as it is exhausting, as excruciating as it is exciting.

So I think I'm trying to postpone the inevitable - that things are going to get worse before they get better.

There may also be a little bit of fear in here that I won't do Matt justice when I write the ending, even though I have what I think will be the final paragraph already written. It's sitting at the end of the Word document, and I am simply filling in the pages in between, and it is a beautiful final image for the novel. And heartbreaking.

Anyway...I will get over this moment. I have to. There is no other option.

Two interesting things have happened this week, the way interesting things happen when I am fully engaged in writing. I'll start with the second, which happened tonight.

I was listening to Terry Gross interview Colin Firth about his role in A Single Man, and they were talking about the scene where he receives the phone call telling him his partner is dead. Firth said that his character was stoic and observing all the social protocols instead of becoming hysterical or crying because this was his way of keeping himself living in the moment before he got the phone call. If he were to start crying, that would be an acknowledgement of the death.

I realized this was why it is so important for me to have Matt not cry until the end of the novel. It has become increasingly difficult to keep him from breaking down, but I think it's important that he doesn't because he hasn't fully accepted Denny's death. As much as he wants to believe that he's accepted it, it isn't until the end that he really takes it in and lets it become real.

The other interesting thing was a bit more intense and happened at the beginning of me working on this current scene. I wrote a pretty emotional scene between Matt and his mother, Rachelle. The next scene has Matt being woken up in the early morning by his girlfriend, Monica, coming into his room. I needed to indicate it was early morning, so I had him look at the clock. The first time that popped into my head was 2:15, but that was too specific a time, so I changed it to 2:18, then thought, I wonder what verse Matthew 2:18 is.

"Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."

In the much of the first draft, Matt's mother was named 'Rachel,' but I changed it to Rachelle.

For me, the bizarre part of this is that I knew this passage because of a Peanuts comic I read years ago. It's one of the only New Testament verses I know, but I had no idea where it was in the Bible, and would not have been able to find it if I looked for it.

These things do just happen.

And now, I am off to make Matt's life awful.

1 comment:

Queen of Cuisine said...

I got an odd chill reading about Matthew 2:18. Thanks!