I'm very, very close to the end of this round of revisions. So close that I should have no problem jumping in, tightening up, and polishing the prose until it's sparkle-pretty.
I should have no problem.
But, of course, I do. Because the problem with revisions is that the more I edit, the more I question: Did I make the right changes? Did I make enough changes? Is this better or is it worse? Am I forgetting something?
And the dreaded . . . did I already say that?
Because I've looked at this novel so many times I've lost the ability to tell what's on the page and what's in my head. Honestly. I don't know what I've written anymore. I am way, way too close to it.
The lack of sleep thing doesn't help either. Tonight I came home from work (The One That Pays) and crashed for four hours. The nap was supposed to be half that, but I couldn't wake up. My body is telling me ENOUGH, and I'm telling it, "Oh, please! Just a few more days!" Then, upon waking, I made myself my evening cup of coffee (so backwards) and promptly dropped the entire French press upon the floor.
Miraculously, it didn't break.*
But the signs are adding up -- it's not the first thing I've dropped this week. I've also been smacking into door frames, nodding off on the toilet, and getting annoyed at minor inconveniences ("WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE'RE OUT OF SOY MILK?? I WILL DIE WITHOUT SOY MILK!!!"). Very attractive, I know. I'm a great big Ball of Joy.
At this point, I need to trust myself. I have to say, "You know, the novel is probably okay. MORE than okay. Why don't you let someone else look at it for a while?"
This is hard.
Because the more I doubt my words, the tighter I grasp onto them. That sinking feeling of failure is looming overhead. What my readers tell me these changes haven't made a difference? What if I'm right back where I started? What if it's worse than where I started?
Gah. Enough doom and gloom.
"Where's the happy?" you ask. "BRING ON THE HAPPY!" And I'm totally with you. So here are three superficial-but-true things making me smile right now:
Jelly bracelets. I've decided the time has come to reintroduce jelly bracelets into my life. I'm thinking, like, a six-inch chunk of rainbow-and-black jellies on my arm. I keep finding myself searching massive lots on eBay, under titles like: ***rubber bracelet ~JeLlY~ punk RaInBoW madonna GaY iNteResT***
(When did I turn into a raver? Promise to stop me the day pacifiers become a Good Idea.)
Yellow shoes. I totally need some bright yellow shoes, you guys! I think I'll go the ol' do-it-yourself spray paint route. (Sorry, Daphne, if I just made you shudder.) I have a TON of plain black flats that could use a little love, and it's been a while since I've had an easy, fun project.
The Grammys. This was the first year I've ever watched the Grammys. Usually I'm not that into the music nominated, but I'd heard rumors that both Coldplay AND Radiohead (!!!) were playing, so I tuned in.
You know, to support The Boyfriends.
And it was a lovely night! Radiohead won Best Alternative Album as well as the Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package for the In Rainbows discbox. (Yeah, I know. I had no idea that last category existed either. But, still, a deserved win! The discbox is puuurty.)
Thom and Jonny also performed "15 Step" with a FRIGGING MARCHING BAND! Which was so inspiring and exciting and, like, painfully cool to hear their electronic noises being duplicated by brass and percussion. Genius! Jarrod and I kept saying, "Those sousaphone players must be POOPING themselves to be playing live. At the Grammys. WITH RADIOHEAD."
(Only we didn't say "pooping.")
And, like so many predicted, it was a great night for Coldplay too. Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends was my favorite release last year, and I'm happy so many others loved it too! They played "Lost" and "Viva La Vida" and took home three awards, Best Rock Album, Song of the Year, and Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. (Why Rock and Pop? This is why I don't normally watch the Grammys. So confusing.)
"We're not, of course, the heaviest of rock bands -- you may have noticed," Chris Martin said. "We're kind of the limestone of rock bands. Not as hard, but still charming."
This, incidentally, was the first time since Chris moved in that he and Thom have seen each other in person. I was worried about how Thom might react, and sure enough, it set off a flurry of texts:
THOM: i only came b/c they said he wouldnt be here
STEPH: I hope you aren't talking about who I think you're talking about.
THOM: he just came up to me and was like, ooo, thom, great performance
STEPH: ??? That sounds okay to me ???
THOM: it was the way he said it
CHRIS: OMG! Guess who showed up!!
STEPH: Are you behaving yourself?
CHRIS: Of course!
CHRIS: Why? Did he mention me?
STEPH: He means well. He's a huge fan, you know.
THOM: tell him i have enough fans thank u very much
STEPH: That's kinda rude.
THOM: your house is too crowded
STEPH: I KNEW that's what this was really about!
THOM: bugger off
STEPH: He MIGHT have mentioned you.
CHRIS: I came off too strong, didn't I?? Maybe I shouldn't have worn my Kid A pin?
STEPH: But it looks so nice on your rainbow jacket.
CHRIS: I know!
STEPH: Can I borrow your jacket?
CHRIS: To go with your jelly bracelets?
STEPH: See THIS is why you live with me full time, and Thom does not.
STEPH: bugger off yourself
THOM: i love you
STEPH: I love you too. Be nice to Chris.
THOM: bugger off
Sigh. I hope some day Thom realizes Chris means well. They'd get along, if he only gave Chris a chance! Chris is really sweet AND he's generous with sharing his musical equipment. Jarrod has been thrilled to experiment with all of his fancy guitar pedals, and the two of them talk about Pro Tools and cables and microphones until my ears fall off.
Like right now. Which is why I'm blogging.
There's only so much one can take.
*Jarrod just kissed me goodnight and said my breath smells like an old man who smokes cheap cigarettes and never leaves his house. So apparently I have also lost the ability to make decent coffee.