You may have wondered what happened to Izzy and me. You may not. Well, whether you have or haven’t, I’m going to tell you. I was finishing my novel. Now it’s done, and I am edging back toward normal. Or at least what can be called normal for writer types like me. Once I hit the last key and sent the novel on to my hopefully-new-agent, the crud hit me, reminding me that I AM a human being even though I often forget that part. After a visit to urgent care and doctor’s orders to stay home for a week (bronchitis, verging on pneumonia), I’m back to tinkering on the keyboard. Izzy has been a fine nurse for the past week, but I’m getting cabin fever, and as much as he likes me being home, I think he’s ready to have his naps whenever and wherever he wants them rather than following me around the house.
It’s funny, but this forced relaxation has made me ponder my writing. I think of the novel-writing process as having physical stages. There’s the Walking Stage. In the very beginning of cooking up a novel, I take Izzy for long walks to let my brain work out the basic premise of the story where I don’t have to be bothered by techno-interruptions. He loves that part.
Then there’s the Hopping Stage. This is the part where I’m getting the outline down on the page. There’s a lot of hopping up to get tea, then settling back in for a while, growling a lot, then hopping back up to get more tea . . . or if it’s past noon somewhere, wine. Lots of wine. Izzy gets patted a lot during this stage.
The next stage is the Scrunching Stage. I’m at the table or on the couch or in the bed scrunched over the laptop or a pad of paper. Unfortunately, my butt gets wider during this stage, Izzy is walked less, and I tend to eat a lot of brownies or chocolate chip cookies or pizza. Definitely not a healthy stage. But Izzy loves pizza crust!
The third stage is the longest, but the fourth stage–the Yoga Stage–is the best one. Because my back and shoulders are so sore from the Scrunching Stage, I have to do lots of yoga to work out the kinks when I’m in the process of editing and proofreading. Izzy’s really good at Down Dog, but he sucks at headstands.
Finally, the last stage. The Staring into Space and Thinking Stage. Not much physical movement other than with the eyes. Often I’m rolling them at some stupid paragraph or closing them to imagine where I was going with a scene or rubbing them because I’m just so damn tired. During this stage, my laptop is somewhere near at all times. Izzy’s sick of the novel by this stage and pushes his way into my lap, no matter what kind of tasty treats I throw to the floor to keep him busy. He protests that it’s time for him again, and he’s right.
Unfortunately, it seems that after the novel is done, I have a final-final stage when my body and mind are exhausted and need some rejuvenation. It’s during this stage that Izzy earns his keep, because then he becomes Nurse Izzy, and though he often sleeps on the job, he’s the best Nurse in the world.
Now if I could just talk him into buying a publishing company . . . .