Friday, February 19, 2010

The Siren's Call

The past few days I've been cooped up in my office, working on projects, telling the rest of the world to go away. Trying to catch up on a few things, I decided to become a hermit, attempting to get situated with 11 1/2 hour days to try and get something finished or at least make some progress with my writerly tasks. Cabin fever begins to settle in before too long. The same apartment, the same setting, starts to wear on the mind. Fresh air is needed.

So last night, my wife and I had to pick up a friend from the airport. We decided to get there a little early and wander around and people watch before my friend's flight came in. This would give me a chance to take a break and hopefully fall back in with society. Fall back in with the living.

As I wandered the airport with my wife, cup of Starbuck's brewed coffee in hand, I began to hear it. It was a sound I've truthfully never heard before. A sound that is unmistakable and haunting. It was my novel. My work in progress. Calling to me. Asking me to come hither. To open up the Word document, to scroll through the story, to finish piecing together what is soon to be a finished novel. It was a Siren, issuing out a sound that went straight to my core, a sound that I cannot push from my memory. Not that I'd want to.

The adrenaline kicked in. I turned to my wife and told her that I felt the need to work on my novel. I told her it was calling to me, that it wanted my attention. A strange thing, for an inanimate item to want so much of me. But is a novel, even a work in progress, all that inanimate? Lines of text to tell a story. Characters to move it along. That is all it is. Ridiculous to think it was calling to me. Right?

I realized at that moment that no novel I have worked on - and I have worked on many - has ever called to me like this before. Was I not that interested in those other works of fiction? Were they not so entrancing as the one that sits before me, pulling me into its grasp, devouring whatever is left of mind and spirit? I have felt the absolute necessity to open up my laptop and feed into this mistress of literary passion. Strange. Enchanting. Haunting.

2 comments:

Kat Heckenbach said...

Not so strange, actually. That's how I felt about my first novel. It would call to me at all the oddest times, demanding my focus everywhere I went. I would find myself scribbling in a notebook at the park, at Sea World, and yeah, even at church. It would pull me out of a deep sleep at 3 am.

I still have moments like that, with my other works--be they novels or short stories, or even personal essays, and sometimes I have to fight for balance in my life, or I'd neglect all else!

Never thought of it as a Siren song, though. Great comparison!!!

David N Alderman said...

Thank you, Kat. I kept thinking of a Siren, with their songs that lure others to their doom. Reminded me of my novel calling to me. If I wasn't careful, it would consume all of me and all of my time and there would be nothing left! :D