Killer Year–The Class of 2007

Taking time off from taking time off
May 25, 2007, 8:18 am
Filed under: Marc Lecard

A few days before Jane and I left on vacation I emailed the finished manuscript of my new novel to editor and agent.

Then we flew out to Ann Arbor Michigan to spend a week in Jane’s brother’s guest room, doing absolutely nothing, the dolce far niente, doing sweet fuck all.

The book would have to do without me for a week. I had some plans for the next novel, true, a few ideas I wanted to work on. But it seemed like a good idea to let them lie fallow. My brain was feeling bruised and abused, like the last canteloupe in the bin. I needed recovery time.

I wouldn’t even think of writing, I told myself.

I had cleverly booked us a red-eye flight to Michigan, thinking: sleep on plane, more time to vacate. It didn’t quite work out. We were seated in the middle of an eighth-grade field trip, on its way to Washington DC to learn about our democratic form of government. Excited middle schoolers do not sleep. They talk, sing, whisper, giggle, yell and talk. If they had begun to sing “99 bottles of beer on the wall” I planned to kick out the emergency door and let the pressure change suck us all into oblivion. But sleeping was not on the agenda.

Sunday was a daze: beer, Irish music, lush green woods, sun, river. Far fucking niente.

Monday morning I got an email from my editor about the manuscript. He had some suggestions. They were well taken.

Monday night, or rather very early Tuesday morning I woke up, sweating, from a dream of compulsive rewriting. I lay there in the dark, going over the multitude of things wrong (I now realized) with the book. How had I let them happen? Why did I think I could turn in a manuscript made up almost entirely of weak points? What the fuck was wrong with me?

Sleeping was not on the agenda.

The next day my hard-working editor sent me a much longer list of problems with the book. Though his comments were wrapped in reassurances that the book was good and the problems merely local, I wasn’t fooled. The book was shit. He was just being polite about it. I was a worthless hack, now revealed in all his fraudulent infamy.

But it did occur to me that, if I just changed one scene, deleted another (now useless), and moved another to much later in the narrative, a lot could be saved. It really was a lot better that way, clearer and more exciting. And that gave me a few more ideas.

I wrote them down. Then I wrote down some more ideas, ways to fix the novel, and ideas for new stories, an idea for a completely different novel.

I had lots of ideas.

Sleeping was not on the agenda.

It’s hopeless, this idea that you can take a vacation from your own brain. Lying fallow sucks anyway.

The good thing about being on vacation is that you have lots more time to work.











3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is what comes from flying to Michigan. It’s the bad news state and certainly not the place for rest.

Comment by patti abbott

“The good thing about being on vacation is that you have lots more time to work.”

What a great observation! That comment is SO my life, LOL. Good luck with the revisions, Marc!

Comment by spyscribbler

When the ideas flow, the work we do is much more fun than any vacation.

Glad to hear that the novel that was just beginning to simmer when I saw you in CA is a real manuscript now, something to be tweaked and polished.

Comment by killeryear

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