Physics has never appealed to me. Stuff like the greater universe or atom splitting or time travel only mildly piques my curiosity (probably because I can’t even comprehend it). But now suddenly I’m scouring the internet for articles on the space-time vortex and definitions of what exactly a time warp is. Why?
This is why:
I sit at my computer, open my current document and scroll down to the last page I wrote. Page 150. Huge sense of déjà vu. Yeah, for a novelist this is normal, right? All I do is sit on front of that document. But the sense of déjà vu is there not because I’ve been working on the same novel for months on end. It’s not even there from being in front of the computer. No. It’s the page number that keeps repeating. Page 150. All the time.
I SWEAR TO YOU IT NEVER CHANGES.
The first time I noticed I was stuck on page 150 was back in May. Yeah, way back then. And, yeah, a lot happened this summer so I didn’t progress like I intended to. But I have written. Practically every day since September. And guess what?
I’M STILL ON FREAKING PAGE 150!
I write and I write and I write and all I see is page 150. Will I never, ever finish this damn novel?
So, I figure there are two possible explanations:
1. My critiquing group would say this is the correct explanation : Writing first drafts is NOT my favorite part of the job. What I really enjoy is rewriting. It’s so fun. So gritty. So…savagely satisfying. Almost as soon as I’ve written something, I’m at it with a hacksaw, amputating its parts until it’s nothing but a quivering, bloody mass that needs to be reassembled. I write twelve pages, then slash away until I’m left with three. I write ten more pages, then decide the head’s on all wrong. I throw everything out and try on new parts like I’m creating Frankenstein’s monster.
That kind of writing is time-consuming. And wasteful. And messy. (But if you ever saw the state of my bedroom as a teenager, you’d know that’s who I am.) I do write outlines for my novels in order to keep on track and cut back on the waste — problem is, I just can’t seem to follow them. Instead I end up trying to give life to my literary offspring at the same time I’m shooting them dead. The pages then creep along all too slowly.
2. The other explanation is the one I’m going with: That I am in some sort of time warp. That in fact, I’ve actually written the novel. I’m on page 302, typing in THE END. But this warp or vortex or whatever the hell it is just keeps folding over on itself and puts me again and again on page 150. Every single day.
It is the same vortex that keeps me opening my closet thinking, “Time to clean this out” but then has me closing it again without ever doing anything. Same vortex that has sucked down and spit out all my plans to organize and file our papers, print out my favorite photos, clean the oven, and learn how to speak German. All of this must be due to some strange phenomenon. Because theoretically, I have the time. I know I do. But it keeps turning to nothing in my hands, leaving me exactly where I started, like some bad dream on repeat.
Anyway, I will keep fighting the 150 page time warp. I will battle every day, teeth clenched, fingers pounding on the keyboard, until I manage to set myself free. One day soon. One day I will cry, “VICTORY!”
And stumble on to page 151.