Inertia has two effects: in one, a kid on wheels going downhill will continue moving fast even when no longer going downhill–indeed, even when there’s a tree in his way. In the second, a kid lying motionless on the ground takes some doing to get moving again.
A while back I wrote about the first kind of inertia, where this book I’m working on was happily whizzing along at 1500 brisk words a day and all I had to do was show up and press the right buttons on the laptop. At the moment, we’re going through the other kind of inertia, where every word is a battle and 1500 words takes a major part of the day, and then they’re bad and will have to be cut and reshaped and leave me ill-tempered and the only good thing I can say about them is that they’re there.
When things are rolling, decisions make themselves, or at most, provide an amusing diversion: Is the family dark or light-haired? One son or two?
At the moment, every choice is agonizing, no matter how small. For example, I’ve established that the mother and father are both into dogs, since the mother hunts (ie, packs of beagles) and the father occasionally sets his hounds on passing undergraduates intent on mischief. But dogs like that aren’t really a presence in the family’s daily life, being a collective rather than a personality, and besides, they’re generally housed elsewhere. So should I provide my country house with a few dogs as well? And if so, are they little creatures like dachshunds, or something more hefty? On the one hand, it really doesn’t matter; on the other hand, the choice of pets says a great deal about the owner, and I just don’t know what I want to say.
And looming large are the more weighty choices, such as: How to bring my two groups together without depending on the kind of knobbly coincidence that bashes the shins of every passing reader?
So today I’ll spend the morning re-reading the 140 pages of TOUCHSTONE and trying to get a handle on where the book is going. With luck, I’ll catch a glimmer of light that I can follow. And if the gods don’t smile on me, it’s back to moving immovable bodies for a while.