Small Pieces, Small Progress

I’ve been finding it hard to write lately. Hard to start new poems or short stories, hard to put my faith in ideas. Hard to churn out a meagre 350 words a day on a new novel I’ve started. I like the idea, and I like the main character, but there are so many things – theme, setting, plot – that I’m barely piecing together. Working on it is like pulling teeth, wrenching every word from my nerves and laying it down in a pool of spit. I hate it, and avoid it. Stupid novel.

I’ve been setting up a little binder of writing notes; I have them in a million places and it is nice to have a single thing to go to if I need a particular note, rather than rifling through five different journals until I find it. In doing so I’ve been finding great lines, just sitting there on some lonely page, but I’ve no idea whether I wrote them or found them on some website of writing prompts. Googling hasn’t helped so far. I can only hope they’re mine.

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The only work I’ve done recently that I haven’t immediately discarded are snippets I’ve posted on my tumblr. A poem here, a snatch of prose there. I found a couple to at least work on while digging through old files on my computer, trying to work out which carcass of a neglected novel is which. Old characters reach out and by god, anything to get me away from this new novel without a direction, or last November’s attempt which discarded its setting and plot early on and had me floundering. So many things to work on and so little actually done.

I’m waiting on a response from one magazine, and there are two more I need to find submissions for. I’m nowhere in my poetry and short prose of late, and what am I to post here if I’m not constantly working? I’ve been managing only one post a month which is abysmal. I despair of myself yet cannot bring myself to work on anything.

Here’s a little scrap of nothing lifted from the notes of one novel, potentially used in another (I can’t remember, of course) and then jazzed up a little and posted on my tumblr. Forgive my silence.

The night is a woman.
A woman with cold hands, who wraps you up in her dark embrace and makes you feel warm. Even if your breath comes in clouds and you can’t feel your fingers.
She draws you after her, into the shadows, and then she strips you down and leaves you naked in the harsh light of day.
The night is a woman. A woman in a velvet dress, black, red lips and moonshine eyes who moves her hips and envelopes you.
A holy temptress with an asphalt altar. A torment; a solace.

The night is a woman.

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