After the Sea



As much as I hate to write this out loud, I think I can smell the finish line.  Yesterday, after some exhausting hours working on my manuscript, I shut down all of the computer files and immediately opened my calendar.  I’m spending today with friends, and this weekend I’m playing tennis to raise money for Hospice of the Valley, and after that …. nothing.  Nothing at all blocked out, not a single commitment for at least a month.  I mapped out the days and marked my target.  The last day of September falls on a Sunday — a day of rest, no? — and I figure if I haul ass and chain myself to my memoir I can finish this fucker FTF by then.

I’ve had a headache for 3 days.  I don’t get headaches.  Instead of taking drugs, and instead of fighting through with more and more caffeine, I went to see Maureen.  Maureen is a massage therapist, but I don’t see her for your standard, gentle, relaxing, soothing rub down; I see Maureen when I need someone to dig in deep and relieve the pressure.  Maureen gave me the head and neck treatment I came for, but then her knuckles (and sharp elbows) traveled south.  When she got to my calves I about came off the table — on the left side she said, in her soft Caribbean accent, “This is sadness.  Have you been on an emotional journey the last couple of weeks?” and then on the right she said, “Ah, equally matched by your anger.”  I told her I’d just gone home to Missouri to see my family and she said, “I have 6 sisters and 2 brothers.  When we get together I call it “going out to sea.  As in S.E.A.”

Sadness.  Elation.  Anger.

While I was working, much later in the afternoon, I realized that going home this last time was, among other revelations, a giant shove to get this book finished.  A giant shove to move the fuck on.  The instant I realized that, I gathered up all of the stray papers and old photographs laying around me and, without even bothering to organize them (so very unlike me) I shoved them in the drawer and slammed it shut.

My headache is gone.  Maybe I’m no longer at sea. I shut the window by my desk and went down to the kitchen, followed by all three dogs with wagging tails, to get us some treats.  Sweet potato and oatmeal biscuits for them.  Chocolate for me.

I can smell the finish line.  I’m going to have to lock myself in my room, and I’m sure there’s a headache (or 15) in there, but September, or rather the first of October, is looking good from here.  Good, like mini graham crackers covered in rich milk chocolate.

19 thoughts on “After the Sea

    1. Teri Post author

      Thanks Pamela. After 5 years, I’m soooo skeptical of the words “finish” and “line.” But I’m trying it on for size.

  1. donnaeve

    Keep going Teri…writing a book is so much like running a marathon, the finish line is now in site for you. Spurred on by that motivating factor, it’s simply one foot after the other – or in this case – one word after the other. Keep going.

  2. jpon

    Bravo. I know how tough it is to put one’s personal life and feelings aside and keep the focus necessary to work on a book-length manuscript. BTW, your target date is the same as mine (or thereabouts), except my project is only finishing up a second draft.

    1. Teri Post author

      The focus is so hard. So many things present themselves to distract. I’m going to pretend I’m away on a writing retreat and say the words “no, sorry I can’t”a lot.

  3. Averil Dean

    The only real truth I’ve learned about writing is that when the impulse strikes you’ve got to follow it. You’re almost there. Go get that book, Teri.

  4. Josey

    awwwww man, this is so great. you’re so close you feel it, literally, in the cells of your body. all of you knows that the end is near. i feel so…happy for you, but not just happy. there’s a deep peace going on here, or at least, being approached. amen. (and i mean that sincerely and reverently. AMEN.)

    here’s to the end.

  5. Lyra

    Oh, my sister, my sister. I wish I lived closer because I need this woman to straighten me out.

    There is a time to close the drawer and just be, yes? Because we have to believe and move the fuck on. So we do. And sometimes it takes a large metal ball on a chain to do it. Break it down, close it away, and move on.

    On another very in sync note…one of the girls I grew up with, one of the core that I went away with recently, her mother just passed from metastatic breast cancer. Very aggressive. My friend is a doctor which made it worse in certain ways as she knew medically what she couldn’t know emotionally for much longer. The part I wanted to share with you was that her mother, a retired teacher was an avid tennis player. Competitive. Head of her team. She was 73 years old and played in a competitive league. Her mother would LEAVE chemo and go play tennis. She passed Tuesday morning, and you’re playing tennis to raise money for hospice.

    Play hard, my dear, dear friend.

    1. Teri Post author

      I am so so ready to close the drawer. That said, the story is nothing — not even remotely — like what I thought it was when I wrote that first zero-draft, 5 years ago. I needed this much time to percolate and let it figure out what it was supposed to be. Not easy for a control freak like me with people asking, When is your book going to be finished?

  6. LauraMaylene

    What lovely news (because yes, I have complete faith you will FTF by the end of September) to read when I finally make my blog rounds again! Now go do it, Teri. And then tell us all about how it went when it’s all said and done (key word: DONE).

  7. JustAnotherEmpress

    I almost brought my FTF bracelet with me on this trip, but then, I left it instead, guarding the shrine. I thought of you. So happy for you. I can see you breaking the tape, arms in the air. Damn!!

  8. Catherine

    Lovely writing Teri, and I’m keen to read this book! How sweet to have your body read like that, and words given to those deep and repressed emotions. Going out to sea. Love this! And glad the headache has gone. Now get to work you have readers waiting!

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