The Dreaded Middle

- by Eileen Dreyer

Sigh. that’s how I think of a middle of a book. Just. Sigh.

If you think of it, writing a book is like a love affair. You sense it first in the distance, something faint and alluring and seductive. Something that calls to your soul. Once you see it–really see it–you can’t think of anything else. You spend all your time imagining how it will be; the taste of it, the scent of it, the sweet thrill of its discovery. The world is wide open, the possibilities endless, and  you know that the book will be everything you want and, even better, things you’d never imagined. You can’t wait to meet.

Then, with the greeting of a first line, you’ve actually touched it, and this magical thing is in your hands. And, of course, there is the first flush of  real infatuation. Every word sings, every act resonates. You are the lover, the hero, the poet. You control the universe, and the universe sings. You’re the magician who shapes the world, the giver of life, the lightning thief. You can’t wait to wake the next day and see what happens.

Oh, if it would only stay that way. But gradually, the days pile up, and they are the same.You aren’t sneaking away to be with this story, you’re committed to it, like house payments and time clocks. Some days the words resonate like silver against fine-wrought crystal. Some days the story stubbornly sits as, sullen and silent as a child plopped down in the aisle of a Target when you have to check out and get to the grocery store(okay, maybe the child isn’t quite as silent as the story. There are days when Carmelite nuns aren’t as silent as the story). And some days, you look at this thing you’ve wrought and think, “what the hell was I thinking?” Because at that very moment, just at the horizon, another story has taken shape, surely a more beautiful story, a more enticing, compelling story that won’t wait, you know it won’t, for you to finish kicking this recalcitrant child into action.

But here you are, stuck at the point where you have to progress on faith that you actually did know what you were doing, that this mess is going somewhere, and that in only another two chapters, the excitement will reawaken into the roller coaster ride to the finish. This is the day your husband brings his boss home for the tenth anniversary dinner you’d planned in your high heels and garter belt. This is when your love has gained weight and lost luster and begun to snore so loudly you can’t sleep. And yet, you know that deep down you still love him.You just have to remember why.

So you keep on slogging just a few more days, putting one word in front of the other, one action down on paper that leads to the next, and suddenly…..whooosh!

It’s just getting past the part where you go ‘sigh.’

Comments are closed.