Monday, November 6, 2017

Kleenex shoes and FOUD

I have mixed feelings about this stage of my novel-in-progress. I can see the finish line and I’m loving it. I’ve never had more fun writing something. Ever. And I’ve written a lot of things. What I’m hating about this stage, though, is the fear of death that comes with it. 

I’ve felt this before. Specifically when I was wrapping up my first novel. I attributed it to First Novel-Itis. Because, duh!, it was my first novel and eccentricities were allowed! I was hoping it was a one-off. But no. It’s baaaaack. That feeling of being desperate to see something through to the end. For me, the day-to-day implications include washing my hands more, thinking about dying, riding a wave of non-functional sleep, thinking about dying. Oh! And a panic attack when a homeless guy wanders into my office, looks straight through me and says, softly, “Are you Emily?”

Do these symptoms sound like a ticket to OCD City? A pass to Paranoia Park? Probably, yes. But they will go away. They did last time. My first novel came out and I could breathe again. Sleep. Wash my hands less than a surgeon. My book made it! I made it! WE MADE IT! 

I think I understand this fear. After years of struggling, I’ve finally realized a dream. I don’t want to lose that; I want to keep living it and doing what I love: which is writing books. Also, it’s an ego thing, of course it is. Somewhere inside I must think that people will read this and like it and make me feel like a Certified Novelist Person. Add these psychological factors to the stress on my nervous system caused by the percussive electrocutions of chronic neurological pain, overzealous sitting, too much Nespresso, and blamo: a recipe for Fear Of Untimely Death (aka FOUD).

I’m not too worried. With some luck, my second book will come out and I’ll return to my normal dirty gross careless ways. And when it’s time for book number three, the cycle will begin again. You’ll find me barricaded in a Vegas hotel room with Kleenex boxes for shoes. But trust me, it’ll have been worth it.

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