Saturday, May 8, 2010

Moving commas around

Actually, I hope that's not what I'm doing on my novel, but over the last week I've been slowly and methodically trying to wrap up the project. All of the substantive writing was done, but even as I'm sending queries out to agents, I can never leave a piece alone until it's out of my hands entirely. The way I avoid overworking it is by keeping my edits small in scope. I work on the wording of a scene that bothered me or go back to put in more details from my wonderfully helpful resource-person, Abby Sanger, who grew up in Taos, NM, where the novel is set. She's given me a ton of information about what the high school looks like, where teens spend their times, and the dynamics between the three major cultures in the area.

I don't have horrific morning sickness, but rather a constant low level nausea that makes me want to spend even more time just lying on the couch with my eyes closed. I go for walks to clear it up and try to eat well, but all food is pretty disgusting at the moment. Not that I'm complaining; being pregnant's a major blessing for us. If you see me sometime in the next few weeks, though, and I turn down a lunch date or something, that's why. It's nothing personal. My situation here is beyond good, though. My husband treats me like an absolute princess, cooking all the meals, looking after our son every moment that he's not at work, doing the grocery shopping and the housecleaning. It consumes me with guilt, but at least this time around I know I'll be able to pull my own weight once again in the future.

When my sleep disorder was finally diagnosed (at least well enough to get an effective treatment - we still don't know what causes the disorder) I'd been going on so little sleep for so long that I just hated life. I'd wake up every morning in a *furious* rage that would take hours of hard work to dissipate. There was no logical reason for the anger; just bad chemicals in the system, I guess. Work was miserable. Relaxation was impossible. It was like someone had planted a crank between my shoulderblades and wound it so tight that I could barely breathe, and any attempts at meditation or anything like that were laughably inadequate. Sleep was always a challenge and towards the end was dominated by nightmares. I'd no sooner close my eyes than my subconscious would just let loose with vitriol, making me wake up every 30-40 minutes, often in a cold sweat with my pulse racing. So when I went on my medication, the change was noticeable, but it took a lot of years to pay down that sleep deficit. I could sleep through the night, but I still had trouble focusing and was depressed a lot.

Just before this pregnancy, I was in good shape for the first time that I can remember. I had so much extra energy! I could wake up and play with my son, then make jewelry and write novels while he napped, keep house, cook meals, and keep it all together - at least to my own satisfaction if not everyone else's ;-)

So, now as my sleep cycle unravels again, I'm holding on to the memory of what was possible and will be possible again, and I'm keeping my writing goals modest. I think I may manage another novel before the baby is here, but probably not many short stories. I'll just be picking away at things a little bit each day, and on the worst days, just move a few commas around and call it good.


  1. Congratulations! Send me an email and let me know the details! Abbie

  2. No guilt about spending that time lying on the couch! You're doing your part by carrying the pregnancy. And if you do any writing, that's fabulous, but only icing on the cake. Being pregnant really is a fulltime job! And having to deal with the sleep issues on're amazing to be doing anything right now.

    And: congratulations again! This is such wonderful news.

  3. Thanks, guys, and thanks for your email, Steph. I'm trying to de-haze enough to revamp my cover letter here :-)