Why am I so haunted by this particular story? Its birth is brutal, an ongoing labor of over five years. It stalls out, I face an agony of finding the words, finding the next curve of the story line, I find a bit of rest, then the pushing starts all over again.
This story, which I thought I had a straight line on, has run away from me on several occasions. When I think I have a reign on it, there it goes again, crazed as a spooked stallion running madly and unseeing through unknown territory.
Many times I set this story aside, done with it. I would never be able to tame this tale, tame my mind to focus on the prize, a finished, coherent story with a beginning, middle, and end. I’m through, I’m done, I tell myself. No one will ever want to read this chaotic ramble that my mind seems to be vomiting out onto paper. So I set it aside, push it from my mind and work on other ideas.
But in the middle of the night, when my mind is free from the stresses of the day, a spark kindles, a blaze ignites, a fire roars. It hits me, the next segment of the tale and I rush to get it out on paper before my sleep fogged mind loses the thread. And it begins again, this horrible, painful birthing process. Writing is furious for a few days. Ideas hit me, bam bam bam, like machine gun fire. It’s good again. I can see the path clearly and I try to run for it before the story can get out of my control again.
And yet, I lose control again. I don’t know why. I think, I’m not that great of a writer or I’d be able to finish this story. I feel down, depressed, inadequate. A much better writer could whip this idea out and into shape in no time with no dragging. I lose my confidence, my self-esteem. I start to spiral down, push the story aside again. It’s a vicious cycle. Why this story won’t leave me, I have no idea. But it comes back, revives itself, puts me through several more months of torture before it abandons me, leaves me in a heap on the floor, gasping for breath, close to death, just wanting it to end, to be over.
Still, I recover, revive. The story rests. It sits in the dark recesses of my mind as if in suspended animation, waiting for my brain to recover, refresh, so it can bring on the birthing process again. Maybe the next time, it will finally be brought out fully formed, a satisfying tale with all its complete parts brought to fruition, the birthing process complete allowing my frazzled mind some much needed rest. Maybe the next frenzied bout of writing will lead me to the end of the race where I will win the coveted prize of a completed work.
Will I ever be free of this haunted tale?