I've been telling everyone that yes, I have started work on a second book. The reality, though, is that, while I do have a decent start at that second book, and while I do think about it frequently (which is part of the work of working on a book), it had been months since I had added anything visibly significant to such book.
A few days ago, I started up again. And I can feel the change.
I can feel it physically in my wrist. Nothing irks my wrist more than writing with a pencil (a Sharpie, for instance, is okay--I do a lot of writing with Sharpies these days, but I guess they're fine because they're thicker--so maybe I need a thicker pencil). Yet I prefer to do most of the early stages of writing with a pencil. The later stages can be done on a keyboard. But there is something . . . less visible about working with a pencil on paper; it's an effect that frees me to write out words in a sort of free write style, to be unconcerned with what I am putting out. Later on you can remove or change whatever needs removing or changing, but at the moment you just need to write down whatever comes--because the process is what breathes whatever needs to be brought into existence.
I can feel it in my mood, too. Jubilation mingles with sitting on the edge. I felt free when the other night after being unable to sleep I got out of bed for a free write and then returned to bed feeling a sense of weightlessness. But I feel . . . caught up when I think of the issues this book will be bringing up: I have to feel emotions and themes in order to write them. So here I am, perfectly happy (well, you know, on average), trying to stir up feelings practically of a mid-life crisis. I can be sitting inside of my skin and then suddenly jump into my mind into this other skin, this skin I'm making up, and feel so caught up in that other skin that I in fact do start mingling that life with my own (which is dangerous territory to fall into, I realize).
What else do I feel? Pleased. I've been letting these "early stages" of this next book drag out rather long. It feels right to know that I'm finally starting up at it again and that when I tell people that more will be coming, it is true. Maybe it would have been better to get a second book out close on the heels of the first, but I think that the more time elapses between the two, the more I will realize how I can make improvements. I'm realizing certain things that I didn't do with the first book that I can do with this one, certain things that I held back on before that I don't need to hold back on this time.
I am free and I am taken because my veins have started to bleed words again.