You finish. You mentally type those two words THE END—though not actually, does anyone actually really type THE END at the obvious end because don’t you think that’s two words too many?—and you turn the page and you stop for a second and you breathe. Excitement sends you soaring. Day job sails by. You are proud of yourself for a day or few. Then, though your motivation caused you to post your plan of attack for the whole internets, you end up sleeping in three out of five days and getting depressed because you did.
Sleeping-in Excuse #1: It was the day after and you deserved the rest.
Sleeping-in Excuse #2: Fancy work party caused you much anxiety, so you talked yourself into not lugging your heavy bag-full-o’-laptop with you to said party and thus figured you may as well not write at all the morning before work, which seemed to make sense at the time, but it doesn’t really anymore. (And the party went fine—I did not make a fool of myself, as far as I know. Though if I did, in fact, get rabidly drunk, let out shocking confessions, and/or step on the dog, I wonder if someone would tell me.)
Sleeping-in Excuse #3: None. None. None.
Maybe, also, once you finish a novel you find great comfort in talking about yourself in the second person. It’s easier to confess things when separated from yourself this way. I’ll stop now, though, because I do realize it can be extremely annoying.
So my first week after finishing the novel consisted of:
- The above-mentioned sleeping.
- Knowing what the next novel would be and instead of writing a word of it, carrying around the concept secretly and happily throughout the week, prolonging the greatly anticipated moment of diving in.
- Chocolate in the form of Junior Mints, a bite of brownie, and bodega cookies.
- Getting an email from my editor with a cover artist in mind! My book might have a cover artist! Fingers crossed it works out. (A note about the cover concept: My editor came up with it and I LOVE IT. Love it. Love it. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.)
- Walking around all week with either (A) water in my left ear or (B) the return of the dreaded TMJ. I should stop chewing gum again, I say as I sit here typing and chewing gum. It feels a little like I’m going deaf on one side.
- Wanting, desperately, something to read, though I am still on the waiting list at the New York Public Library for The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (I am person number 85 of 104 in wait to read that book) and Goldengrove by Francine Prose (11 of 26) and Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (4 of 9).
- Building my next novel’s imaginary playlist: It’s YA, and so far, it includes specific songs from Tegan and Sara, Sonic Youth and Thurston Moore, Bright Eyes, Hanne Hukkelberg, The Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer, Jane’s Addiction, Sleater-Kinney, Arctic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Elliott Smith of course, Cat Power of course, Pixies, The Kills, The Sounds, Scout Niblett, Rilo Kiley, Kate Nash, Pony Up, Bellafea, and a surprising cameo by Nico. Sorry, GZA didn’t make the cut. (The playlist is imaginary because I can’t afford to buy music right now.)
- Running into numerous people with tenuous connections to Woodstock, the town where I went to high school. And wondering if they know people I knew. And having flashbacks. Which is good, actually, for the novel, so keep ’em coming, I guess.
- Getting a text from my sister saying she loves my narrator while she reads the opening chapters while at home alone cooking Bolognese sauce: “I am laughing by myself. D is awesome.” And smiling.
- Not returning emails, as usual.
- Being a hypersensitive pincushion and taking offense to everything said to me and holding it in and not saying anything, except to E, who has the patience of a saint and gets cuter every week, I think, or else it could be that I’m finally able to focus my eyes after all that writing.
- Hoping my friends Oslowe and Yojo will finish their drafts soon SO I CAN READ THEM HINT-HINT.
- Did I mention the sleeping?
It’s the weekend now. It’s cold. I can’t find my gloves. My scarf is too thin. It’s the tail end of November, so I hope everyone writing novels is having a blast at it. The end can be sort of anticlimactic, I guess. Like, seriously, it’s been a week and I still haven’t seen a single balloon! Ah, no matter. You know they pop anyway.