At lewis ends

When I was a child I read a series of English children’s books about Paddington Bear (so named because he had been found at Paddington tube station). Paddington, in the way of storybook bears, was rather more human than otherwise, and he kept a journal. One of the chapter headings, taken from his journal, was “At lewis ends” and it became a catchphrase in our house. Of course it’s really “At loose ends”, meaning knocking about with no sense of purpose and unable to settle to anything.

This is precisely where I find myself at the moment. I’ve worked very hard all month on my writing, and particularly so in the last week, as I saw the end drawing nearer. Today I planned to do some pottery, but I found instead that I sat with a novel and a cup of coffee and – fell asleep in my chair. Today I have been alternately tired and restless, and I have settled to nothing useful.

As I’ve noted before, I’m rather a driven personality. I consider myself lazy by nature, and feel that I have to keep at myself if I’m not to collapse into sloth. Today, although I haven’t been hanging upside-down in trees and when I last looked there was no lichen growing in my hair, I’ve definitely been slothful. Funny, I know I said there would be a let-down; I expected it, and yet it has still taken me completely by surprise.

My friend Douglas Campbell once extemporized a little verse about the post-publication blues. I figure it applies equally well to the post-novel-writing blues. Not “blues” exactly, because I’m actually still quite pleased about my accomplishment. Nerves, perhaps.

See, the readers have the story now. I’m starting to get responses, and they are good, useful ones, but deep down I’m wondering if what I wrote – sucks. Or, worse, is mediocre.

I know I’m being stupid, but I’m still anxious about what people are going to think and say about this novel. And I’m nerving myself for the big job of rewriting. And wondering if I should change the point-of-view from first-person to third-person. Can I write convincingly as an adolescent? I dunno. It’s been decades since I was one, and then my writing really did suck.

So at this point I am just going to have to wait it out. Maybe I’ll do pottery tomorrow. Take my mind off this writing thing.

Is that even possible?

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