Opinion Columns & Blogs

Proceeds from book will buy a new horse

It’s 15 minutes until 4 p.m., on a Wednesday, which is the deadline for this column and up until 10 minutes ago, I had completely forgotten to write it.

Until recently, I’ve never truly experienced a compulsive addiction, except for horses, so it’s a little frightening to be visiting the dark side of an area that I can already see potentially degenerating into the dissolution of relationships, health and financial stability. Oh, yeah, that’s horses, too, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

People, I’m writing a novel, and regardless of it resulting in any success or not, I hereby declare that I will never, ever write another one as long as I live. For the first time, I completely empathize, not sympathize, but empathize, with the writers we’ve heard about that turned into raging alcoholics or shot themselves in the head. Boy do I get it.

And here’s the thing: the reason it has become so compulsive for yours truly has nothing to do with writer’s block. This story, that’s been rattling around in my brain for a decade has remained there because I am inherently lazy and have always lacked the self discipline required to sit down and knock out the 300 plus pages necessary. But for whatever reason, oh, alright, it’s the result of a bet that I lost, the moment I sat down to type I.could.not.stop. It has poured out of my fingers, across my keyboard, like an unending river of words, so easily, so consistently, that if I did suddenly find myself hitting the wall of what is known as writer’s block, I would be running down the street, naked, screaming, and firing a shotgun. I don’t have a shotgun, at present, which means I would have to run, naked, screaming, into a gun store, demanding to buy one, and although I'd easily obtain one without a background check, it would still set me back a good fifteen minutes on the way to my nervous breakdown.

Since I began writing this thing (think chick’s summer beach read, but with substance), I have lost five pounds on my already rangy frame, despite freebasing double chocolate brownies left over from Christmas Dinner to keep me going past 2am as my fingers continued to peck and take me past breakfast, lunch, and dinner, pausing only to feed and care for my horses. Paul is not allowed to speak to me unless he desires, in return, a Nancy Pelosi deathray stare, and even the cats are giving me a wide berth as they wind around the legs of our rustic, pine table, crying to remind me of their empty bowls.

I was chatting back and forth, through private message on Facebook, to a friend of mine in Los Angeles who has written two novels and has had pretty good success with them. “It’s the most tedious thing I have ever done,” he wrote, “but rewarding.” I don’t get that tedious part because I can’t stop typing. I don’t even feel as if I’m writing it, because as I lie awake at night, finally hitting the pillow around 3, only to be up a couple of hours later to take Rosie out and feed the horses, my characters are beautifully set up to propel the story forward with lots of drama and romantic left hooks out of nowhere, and then, stuffing a napkin in my mouth for breakfast (I thought it was a bagel, because I wasn’t looking, I was typing) my characters blatantly ignore every thought that went into their very creation and do an about face, taking me on an adventure that has just occurred to them, instead, and I’m running behind them, crying, “Wait, stop! You can’t do that! You’re supposed to be doing this, instead!” But, as always, there is nothing for me to do but acquiesce and tag along, and time after time, they have proven that where they are heading is far, far, more enthralling than anywhere I had intended.

Hopefully, it’ll be completed by the end of this week. I hope so, because my blood sugar is very low and I’m beginning to get that hollow eyed, prison pallor complexion of a long term inmate. And really, if I eat another Ferrero Rocher, I’m going to vomit.

When it’s bound and released, hopefully, around March, it’s important to me that you know, gentle reader, that you are under no pressure, no obligation, whatsoever, to purchase the thing. But if you do, I think it’s only fair that any earnings it makes will be used to buy a new horse. Because, dammit, I deserve it.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.