I.

I get the idea looking over a book of literary criticism of another book I’ve never actually read.  I do read it.  I’m not disappointed exactly.  I knew going in that I had my own idea.  I try writing it.  The results are too happy.  I’ve since lost them.

Years pass.

I try again.  I write feverishly for a month, a month that isn’t NaNoWriMo; 7,000 words in one day.  I belt out every sordid detail like I’m trying to get it out before I drown. What I have when I’m finished looks like a cross between a fever dream and porno.  I was trying to write horror.  The one person I convince to read it agrees it’s not scary, but has no other feedback.

I set it aside.  It is what it is.  I have no aspirations for it besides maybe being scary, and it’s not.

Years pass.  I keep the one song that reminds me of it on my iPod.  I move across the country.  I get a lot of lectures from my writing coach.  I start to remember.

Years pass, but one day, I pull up the file again.  It looks like home.

 

II.

I make a calculated attempt at a submission.  I scratch the dialogue out at work, bring it home, and build the rest of the story around that over a few weekends.  The results make me happy, though they aren’t euphoric and weird.  I figure that’s normal for submission stories.

The person I get in contact with for revision help calls me while I’m in the middle of sorting some miniatures.  I don’t hold that against them, but the timing is enough to make me laugh for the first time in days, there while I’m sitting in the middle of a display of tiny flower pots.

We get to work.

We go through seven drafts.  I know I’m not the easiest person to work with, but this person goes out of their way to teach me and show me exactly what I did wrong.

And yet, when the deadline I set comes, I don’t submit.

I look at the file and I feel nothing.  The verve isn’t there.

I still can’t look at that story for more than fifteen seconds.

 

III.

I come across an anthology that’s open for two more weeks.  I drunkenly ask my roommates if I should submit.  I’m a happy drunk, so they tell me yes.  I don’t recall if I mentioned the fate of my last attempt at a submission to them at the time, but I did later.

This time, when I decide what to write, I dance with vodka and Vaporwave.  My cat is deeply confused.  But, in the end, I know what I’m doing.

The next night, I start doing it.  I blast music and bang on the keyboard until all hours of the night.  I even try to write after getting stranded at a craft fair for six hours, but those words all end up in the trash.

My coach is booked that week.  My usually proofreader is out of town.  I find another one.  Their life goes upside down, but they still find me some commas.  In the middle of draft three, I realize the gentleman once again leaving nonsensical abuse in my inbox ought to be referred to the police.

I finish that draft, and start over revising from the start.  I do it again and again.

The day before the submission is due, I send it in, because the truth is I can’t look at that file anymore either.