Death Said, “Hurry”

illustration by s. zainab williamsWhen I was a child even smaller than I am today, I’d often look up from my book and imagine what it might be like to be a writer. I pictured fingers raking through care-swept hair, piles of books, littered quills and crumpled paper, and the oldest writing desk buried beneath inked sheets and crawling with belligerent ravens. You know, high rafters, dust, and the empty, black space beyond.

I long ago left childhood behind and turned 32 this month. I’ve published a graphic novel and I’m on the cusp of querying my first full-length novel. It turns out that other than the ravens and the rafters, my naive vision of writing was mostly correct. I sit chained to my desk, which is piled high with all of the things I don’t have time to read or file, pulling out my hair, looking for red pens among the stupid decorative quills, most often isolated in my apartment. Replace the ravens with a cat I guess.

While I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, it’s not enough. I started this blog a few days before my 29th birthday when I realized I didn’t have all the time in the world. Like Captain Hook, I hear the clock ticking every second away and, grim as it may sound, birthdays have turned into reminders that I’m not working fast or hard enough. And when you spend almost all of your free time working, apologizing to friends, and basically living for this thing that sucks up your life, goals and results become that much more urgent.

Maybe I’d never get anything done if I wasn’t so frantic. I don’t know what will be the byproduct of aggressive ambition and the inability to meet my own expectations. All I know is that I spent my birthday in my apartment, editing my manuscript, and that it was the only thing I wanted to do.

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6 thoughts on “Death Said, “Hurry”

  1. Hey you’ve got a lot to feel accomplished about. You’ve been writing about as long as I have, I think, and I have nothing published either.

    This novel I’m working on is six years in the making, 4 of those being proofing sessions from a gothic horror (think The Yellow Wallpaper). And I know, in the bottom of my heart, this novel will not get the best reception.

    That being said, I’m in the trenches, too. I love what I do, and I’ll possibly die doing it. I hear you. What’s the novel about? Anything like Beatrice is Dead?

    • Thanks! It’s nice to know there’s a community of hard-working writers out there who understand. I hope you go far with your novel. 🙂

      My novel is a detour from Beatrice in that it’s YA fantasy, but certainly with some dark themes as is my tendency. It’s an alternate worlds story about a young girl who finds the entrance to another world in the crumbling family mansion where she’s been sent to live with her aunts. I wrote the initial draft during NaNoWriMo a few years back and have finally released it to the wilds.

  2. I could live in dark themes forever. Too few people writing about it. Part of what I like of your work (that I’ve read in this limited space) is the Gaiman-esque feel to it. The ONLY reason I call it Gaiman-esque is a lack of better descriptor: the two of you are completely different writers. I love where your stuff comes from, and it sounds delicious.

    Good luck. Keep me updated on the publication of said manuscript.

  3. Your stories keeps me grounded. I know it must be a funny thing for me to say but it does. Just starting to realize I’m not sure if my life is a figment of my fantasies or if it really happened. Stories….something happened and in between we create what we want to believe. Then the stories in our minds become realities.

    Slowly removing facts from fantasies and I think I prefer the fantastic stories I live in. Lol!

    Keep writing my love. You have so much to give. BTW: Trademark your drawings. Your drawings have the same uniques curly cues. Never thought you could draw! Love you so much and so proud of you.

    >

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