|Bronchitis is a lot like a baby turtle trying to eat a strawberry.|
This may make more sense in Paragraph 3.
I'm a delusional sort. Scratch that - humans are a delusional sort, and it's the rationalists I distrust. One of my delusions is a guilt complex that I'm never doing enough. For the last week I've been relatively silent because I've been relatively bedridden with a splendid case of bronchitis. That's an infection of the bronchial tubes that cakes my lungs with solid snot, throws off my internal temperature, locks my joints, saps appetite for the nutrition necessary to fight it, and drives my neuromuscular syndrome nuts. By Thursday I'd pulled muscles in my back, both biceps, and pulled both hamstrings, simply from coughing or contorting in discomfort. It was such that I could no longer lie down without excruciating pain, and thus had to alternate between exhausting myself by sitting up for any relief, and lying down and making the muscles worse.
I am doing much better, and thank you for asking. But I also felt pangs of guilt over not continuing my novel, even when my head was so fogged I couldn't speak an entire sentence. I even felt the pangs when, in the sort of nonsense despair excessive pain causes, I worried my whole novel was garbage and had to be thrown out. Even when I was sure the work was worthless, I felt vile for not transcending and doing the work anyway. The Joker would laugh at me, and The Joker is never wrong when he thinks you're funny.
Writing is beautiful, and prose is one of my great passions in life. This morning I'm excited to be able to think straight and consider these characters again. Yet the anxiety I soaked in this weekend is the kind of mindset that you may wind up with if you become too attached to goals. I've argued it before and won't go on at length now, because I desperately need to sleep a full night soon or it's off to the hospital. But please, think about how stupid John Wiswell is because he's driven the next time some successful author tells you to lock it down and work harder.
For now I think what the last few months were like. Everything was held up in October for Viable Paradise. Then...
November: wrote my first screenplay.
December: wrote four short stories.
January: wrote 51,033 words of a new novel.
For these fruits, I think I'm not doing enough. The Joker would bust a gut.
I've got about a week left before I head to Massachusetts for Boskone, where it turns out I'll be reading in the Flash Slam competition. If you're in the Boston area, I'd love a little cheering section. I can't wait to practice, just as soon as my voice comes back.
I'm trying to figure out when I'll have enough wherewithal to write more of the novel. Maybe Monday? And whenever, how much I can get done before I ship out. I think the break is actually helping the plotting in a way I'll have a better handle on next week. Too funny if not writing for a while is the best aid to writing better fiction.