Tuesday, March 25, 2014

After the Project

books in a stack (a stack of books)Yesterday, I sent my novel, "Dark King Rising", out to a publisher. Immediately after I hit SEND a wave of relief washed over me and inside a sense of contentment whispered, "It is done". I was riding high on the sense of accomplishment of having not only completed something, but having begun the logical next step of putting it out there for a possible audience. To quote a TV show, I felt like "King Kong on cocaine". Judge my tastes how you will. Today is different.

Today, I look with longing at a file I no longer have to open and find myself wondering about the lives of people who have never existed anywhere but in my mind. Today, I feel let down and a little broken, the first few steps into a self-imposed exile. Today, I'm depressed. From King Kong to a field mouse and the tractor's coming.

I've been told, by artists wiser and more experienced, this is not unusual. There is first the elation, then the deflation. Like Icarus you marvel at the sun and then seconds later are choking on the waves. This is the artist's life. In a way, I guess you could say, we (artists in general) spend our lives chasing that high. The knife's edge of done before the full recognition of being done sets in. The moment of marveling at Narnia before you realize you're once more in England and have to go to school.

I don't know that I'm ready to start on something else yet. Not that I don't have enough projects to keep me quite busy, but I don't feel quite closed with this one yet. As if I need a mourning period before I can fling myself fully into the next thing, the next world, the next villain, the next protagonist, the next problem. So for now, I putter. I flirt with a book (or three). I watch bad television. And I wait for the tears to pass. I have a standing appointment with friends who write this evening and will try to stir myself to the next project.

Oh, who am I kidding?

Before I typed the ominous words "THE END" on the final page of "Dark King Rising" other characters were clamoring for my attention like children when Momma has finally come home from being long away. They badly want to escape their infancy and live their lives on the page, but I've been so busy raising one, the others have simply had to wait. Now they sense THE END of their waiting, that one lucky one of them will be next. So they tug at my attention and whisper in my inner ear of things we could do together, of empires we can make and break, of adventures unstarted, and they seek to lure me onward no matter how tired I may seem. I'm almost ready to hear them. Maybe later today.

"King Kong on Cocaine" comes from an episode of CSI. :P

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