distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Cascade of Chairs

You know that point of the novel well about halfway when you start looking around wildly, flailing your arms, going where are we? how much longer? are we there yet? Maybe that’s just me. Okay, so you know that point of the novel where you want to print out your pages just to bury yourself in them or sleep under them because you’re forgetting what progress looks like and you don’t know if you’ll believe it unless it’s on top of your head?


Okay, so you know that point of the novel when you wonder if you’re typing in Turkish because your words make no sense? No? Polish. No? When you think you have made up an entirely new language using random keys on your keyboard and if only your story could be so inventive?


Um, you know that point of the novel where you’re suspended over the highway and all the other writers are zooming past in their sports cars and you’re losing your grip and now you’re holding on by one hand and you wonder how far the fall is and you wonder how much longer you can keep hanging on?


Let’s just say I’m at an indescribable point in my novel. Somewhere in the murky middle. Every day is one more day in which I worked on the novel, in which the novel got better than it was before, but it’s still not near fast enough.

I saw someone, not a writer, who was trying to get a handle on my life: So you get up in the morning and you write. Yeah. Then you go to work at a desk job. Yeah. Then you go home and you do what? Sit on the couch, read, watch TV. Then on the weekends you go out to write more? Yup. All day. And you don’t drink? No. And you don’t get high? No. And you don’t dance or do yoga? No. And you don’t have a wii? No. I guess I spend a lot of time sitting down. I guess it’s sad to describe a life this way, as a series of chairs.

My Life as a Series of Chairs: the black chair in the living room to the wooden chair in the café to the bench in the subway to the wheelie chair in the office to the bench in the subway to the couch to the bed. What a beautiful still-life that would make. My novel is making me fat, I think.


5 responses to “Cascade of Chairs”

  1. Oh, I do know (from NaNoWriMo time). Especially that Turkish part. The feeling that it would probably be better if I didn’t know what I was writing … So I’m sending you some mental fairies to bounce your inner light and energy, whatever language you prefer writing in. =)

  2. “Life as a series of chairs.” Brilliant.

    This happens to nonfiction writers, too. I will never forget being down on my hand and knees with a big manuscript, frantically trying to organize it all over the upstairs landing because I could no longer make heads or tails of it inside my head. I had totally lost my bearings and had no compass. I called smart friends to come and help me pile the pages here and there. They did, and I finally finished it.

    But wow, does this post give me the shivers. Makes you wonder why the heck we write at all.

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