As If

Sometimes, it’s good to be a little uncomfortable. Right now, I’m sitting in my office, in front of the desktop, open notebooks at hand, with pencilled notes. There’s a nearly-empty travel mug in front of me. I have my ears pricked for the on and off (mostly off now, I think) rain outside my window. The numbers at the bottom of my screen tell me it won’t be long until Housemate and Real Life Romance Hero return home, so my time for uninterrupted (at least by others) is ticking down to its limit for the day. What I would like to do is take a nap.
One of the best things about working from home is that one can go to work in pajamas. One of the worst things about working from home is that one can go to work in pajamas. Today, I hit the  intersection of too tired and too comfy, so I got out of the chair, swapped leggings for jeans (aka leg prison) put on makeup and everyday jewelry (one skeleton hand ring, one skull ring, earrings are also skull themed today. I love skulls.) In a few minutes, I will give in to the urge to make tea. I don’t want tea right now, but I will in a while, so acting in anticipation is probably in my best interest at the moment.
I have two notebooks, one Molieskine Volant (sage green) and one Moleskine Cahier (black,) both bearing aforementioned pencilled notes. Said notes are for transcription, and that’s my plan for the day. My body says “nap.” My brain says “write.” Since the brain controls the body, I think (pun unintended, but we’ll go with it) and there is no “handwritten novels in note form” section at either Barnes and Noble or on Amazon, it is in my very best interests to push through the afternoon slump and Get Stuff Done. Hence the actual clothing and ritual of what my mother would have called putting on my face.
Last night, my brain too pooped to do anything productive, I spent some time browsing beauty sites and researching cosmetic items I might like to add to my stash.  On one such baord, I found a thread on colorful eye makeup. Several of the posts spoke of using colors that came in pallettes, but don’t get much use. Since it was late and I was tired, I thought, hey, that might be fun. I have green eyes. I don’t usually use green shadow, because, well, green eyes.  I have green shadows, though; they came in a pallette I recieved as a Christmas gift, but I don’t normally use them. Since I’d put on actual pants precisely for the discomfort factor, why the heck not? So I did. I have green eyelids, a different shade of green on my browbone, a bit of green on the lower lid/lashline as well. The world did not end.
What did end was the mindset of still being in my pajamas and not actually being at work. Dressed and made up and with a spritz of some vintage Chanel #19 (a long-ago gift from a favorite aunt no longer with us) that’s not lounging arround the house wear. I’m sure my imaginary friends appreciate the effort; we’ll see about that, because I’m dropping by to see them as soon as I’m finished with this entry. It says so right in my daily task list, so that’s what’s going to happen.
This post is turning out to be exactly what I didn’t want it to be; I feel like I’ve done a thousand versions of the whole left foot, right foot thing. That’s not bad, exactly. There’s a place for that, but what it gets swirling around my mind is that there’s another ingredient to the whole creativity thing, and that’s the love. Not only because I write romance (though that certainly helps with matters; I’ve been crazy in love with romance novels since I was eleven, and with love stories long before then) but the love of the work.

Today, when I wrote my morning pages, I wrote about acting as if; as if I had complete assurance these books were going to find good homes. Acting as if the market were a sure thing. Acting as if there were a whole bunch of readers waiting for these particular stories, eager to meet Hero and Heroine, Girl and Guy, in the flesh…er, page. There’s a little bit of pressure in that, but also a whole lot of purpose. If I’m only telling stories for my own amusement, well, I know how they’re going to turn out, as they’re in my own head. Why decipher the stuff I wrote in mechanical pencil, at however many mph along the highway, or, also in mechanical pencil, wedged into the tiny haven of space between the tall dresser in the dining room (old house, have to be creative with furniture placement) and Housemate’s bedroom door, while pretty much everybody involved in the transfer of power, as it were, from current landlady to incoming landlord-and-lady?

Writing romance is my happy place. When the whole apartment is swarming with people with clipboards and cameras and turning on faucets and light switches and checking I-don’t-know-what, there’s the pencil and the page, and whoosh. I’m not wedged between door and dresser at all, but surveying the common room of an eighteenth century inn, getting a bead on the crowd and figuring out how hard it’s going to be for Hero to get a room for the night (or at least bed space) by dint of his charm alone. Even in Century Eighteen, leaving the house without one’s wallet (or period appropriate equivalent) has the same consequences it has now. Thankfully, Hero is a resourceful gent. He’ll be fine…eventually. first, I have to walk him straight into the last person he wants to see right now, shake up his worldview, and make him do the thing he cannot do. That’s how it works in these stories.

That’s how it works with writing, too. If I leave these notes as notes, they’re fine the way they are…but they can’t go out in public. There’s only one copy of them, it’s all in pencil, and it’s on paper. It’s in my handwriting, which is not always readable to all. There have been times Real Life Romance Hero has asked me to print notes to him, instead of writing them in cursive, and if he can’t read my handwriting, I am not going to inflict that on others. So, the transcription. The whipping of the story into shape from bullet points to prose, from present to past tense, the ordering of things that have arrows and parentheses and odd boxes with curlicues at the corners. Only then are they ready for other eyes. This process, too, has its tricks, its own colors that came with the usual suspects, that are waiting for a chance to show what they can do if I think outside the box. Looking at it that way, it’s a lot less scary, and a lot more fun.



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