I’m writing this with puffy eyes, messy hair, and winged eyeliner that is tragically off-fleek. I’m writing this cradling a cup of coffee like it’s a lifeline, because last night, instead of going to bed when Lillian went to bed (which is what I’ve been saying I’ll do ‘tonight, no matter what’, for the past week) I stayed up into the small hours of the morning. Writing. Thinking. Planning. And then, when I finally laid my head down on the pillow, I picked up my phone to record a voice memo because I couldn’t sleep. My brain was still writing. Thinking. Planning.
I don’t know how to switch off.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s look back at November; at how we got here.
I returned to the stage. One short, manageable rehearsal a week became four rehearsals a week; five shows over four days. But then it was over, and I could pause. Breathe.
Just, you know, not for too long, because NaNoWriMo. But that wasn’t so bad. I’d write on my lunch break, I’d write when I put Lillian to bed, and then I could pause.
Or, at least, I could pause long enough to record vocals for a cover/tribute album. But that just meant waiting until the house was quiet (HA!) and singing a few songs by my favourite band; it was hardly torture. And then I could-
-well, not pause, not just yet; because first, there was Operation Christmas Child to take care of. My wonderful parishioners did the leg work there, though: they’re the ones who dedicated their time and money to shopping for gifts, wrapping boxes, and filling them with love. Really, all I did was send the boxes on their way around the world. Then the project was done for the year, and I could—
—do my homework, because, oh shit, we’re in week what? I’m how far behind? Okay. Breathe. Focus on homework. It’s okay. You’ve got your 50,000 words and you’ve still got two days before NaNo finishes. Then you can relax, you can—
Who am I kidding?
Some people try to burn the candle at both ends. I hack away at the wax to expose the wick, and burn it from the ends and the centre. I’m not going to go to bed early tonight, or tomorrow night, or the next. I’m never going to finish the book I started reading in September.
I thought I could pause when NaNoWriMo was over, but I haven’t. I’m still writing every day. That’s great news: I’m in love with this novel, fully engaged with it, and it’s coming along so nicely (there’ll be an update soon). But I don’t pause. When I get a free moment it’s like I have a compulsion to fill it. Even now, though I’ve ordered myself to take a night off from writing and go to bed early, I’m thinking instead I should update this page. I’m thinking about how tonight, I need to record vocals for a Foo Fighters tribute album I signed myself up for. I’m thinking that I can see a free window to catch up on sleep, to pause; and it doesn’t matter that it’s ten days away. I can keep going until then.
Newton’s first law of physics. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. I suppose that for the first time, I’m admitting that I’m scared of what will happen if I stop moving; if I pause.