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Funk Bluebirds from Hell

I finished the First Draft of Book One at the end of November. Oh Halleluiah. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it. After 40 years I finally finished a novel that I thought could be published. What a feat, what a dream.

At the time there were fireworks going off, the sun shone (actually it was cloudy out and just a ray of sunlight shone down on me), and then believe it or not (try to believe – it is Christmas time) a half-dozen bluebirds started to circle my head like a halo.  Their chirping sounded like a beautiful sonata and I closed my eyes to enjoy the fullness of their music. I realized that they must be the bluebirds of happiness I had heard about.

“Seriously,” Willow’s voice, though sweet and just deep enough to be sexy, had a slight harshness to the edge that added just the right amount of sarcasm when she desired; like now, “Bluebirds of Happiness flying around your head.”

“Yupper,” My repartee a sign of my greater intelligence.

She flopped in her favorite chair as she scratched behind Grover, her dog’s, ear. He just stared at me with his big droopy eyes and even bigger ears that drooped even more.

She kept scratching Grover as she talked to me, “A halo.  You really think a lot of yourself. Don’t forget who had a lot to do with the first draft getting finished!”

“I know you did,” I couldn’t have done it without her, but she also couldn’t have done it without me. I was just ready to tell her this with a completely smug expression when she said first.

“So where are the birds?” Her eyes were focused above my head.

This was the part that I didn’t really want to remember. I took a deep breath. “Well at first it was really great and then their chirping started to sound deeper and started to sound more like a caw than a chirp.”

She leaned forward with interest.

I leaned a little farther towards her also and told her, “Then occasionally I started to feel a peck on my head. Then it became more and more.” I ducked my head remembering the painful pecks. “I looked up and they looked more like crows then bluebirds.”

“What happened?” My Muse asked, her voice filled with concern. “Why did they change?”

“That’s what I couldn’t figure out.” At first I had been as shocked and confused as she now was. But then… “I realized that I had finished the first draft and was kind of worn out. I knew I needed to start on the Revision process for the first draft and I had already started the first draft of Book Two before I even finished Book One.” I paused as I was a little embarrassed about what I was going to say. “But I just couldn’t get myself to start either one. I couldn’t even get myself up to do my weekly Post here. I just felt like I had deflated and didn’t know if I could get motivated to continue with the Revision. Part of me was so excited to have completed the first draft and couldn’t wait to get through the Revision (a few month effort), but another part of me was like ‘I have put so many months into this and now I have more work to do – whoa is me!’. So I didn’t do anything. I spent time getting ready for Christmas and making excuses and coming up with other things to do.”

She was sitting on the edge of her chair now her eyes wide. “I was wondering why I hadn’t heard from you for the last week or more. Are you still feeling that way.”

I had to think for a few moments before answering because I wasn’t sure. Then with another big sigh (I sigh a lot and sometimes for no reason). “The other day I said I would get started. I would get off my writing butt and get started. So the first thing that I had to do with Revision was to print out my manuscript. Double-space, Times New Roman 12pt. It took a while and finally I had in my hands 529 pages of the first draft. It was heavy and did you know that when you print out a ream of paper it is almost twice as thick as it was before you unwrap the ream. I put the ream down and stared at it. The crows started to fade then a really big one pecked me on the head and I stared at the printed out manuscript again. How was I ever going to get through that?

“So you are still in a funk is that it?” She said her tone becoming angry; which threw me as I was not expecting that sort of reaction.

She stood and walked over to put her hands on my chair and leaned forward, causing me to lean back into the seat. I thought she might even take a swing at me. Her eyes had narrowed and her lips were tight as she got out. “So you just going to put me back into the dark recesses of your mind like I was before you started this Series and realized that I existed.” She stood back up and walked away from me then turned quickly pointing a finger back at me. “You know I was always there waiting to help you all these years. Do you have any idea what it is like to be stuck in the dark not able to share you creative ideas. Just sitting and watching as you bypassed all the opportunities to become a novelist. As you went about your life ignoring me when all I have ever wanted was to be your creative partner.” I could see tears in her eyes.

“No, No” I had to let her know. “I am not sorry at all that I finally found you. You have made a big difference in my life.”

Now she was sniffling and wiped her nose with her hand. Which I can tell you is not very attractive. “So you are sending me back down there. You don’t know what it’s like. To have all these ideas. To want to express yourself to the world. But then it is like someone having a choke hold on you and you can’t say a word.”

“Not at all.” I told her firmly as I put a hand on her arm. “You are NOT going back down there. In fact that is why I asked you to meet me here.”

She looked at me askew as she seemed a little confused.

I smiled hoping that would help. “On my Writer’s Forum I told a few folks how I felt and one of them came back and they said ‘Don’t you know that’s the “End-of-First-Draft Blues”? Everybody gets it. You’ve earned a few days off. Allow yourself to enjoy the time, and then get back into it. I always need at least 1-3 weeks before I recover enough for revision or a new story.’ This really got me thinking. It had only been a week and I was totally in a funk and couldn’t see anyway out.” I almost laughed. “I knew I just couldn’t jump into the Revision. I had to take it a little at a time. Baby steps (well a 60 year old man isn’t really a baby – well maybe not too far from one). So I thought we could write a Post for our blog here and then we could write a Post for our Series, the Fire Fall Saga, website. Soooo, what do you think?”

A grin that nearly covered her entire face spread out and her eyes sparkled again. She pushed back her blond hair and just kept smiling. Then she dropped back down in her chair, one leg over the arm, and she got a serious look on her face. “I guess I could help you if you really need it. I mean there’s no way you could write it without me. At least nothing that anyone would want to read.”

Well it was good to have her back…I guess.

She closed one eye and tilted her head like she does when she is thinking then she said, “Why not make the first Post-End-of-First-Draft Blues Post the conversation we just had?”

I thought that was a wonderful idea. So you now have it.

Then she added, “I have an idea for the Fire Fall Saga blog postings.”

I was intrigued. “What did you have in mind?”

“The last post you did was about Protector Dougal. We should make the blog posts, at least for a while, explanations of the different creatures and other strange beings (and places) in the Series.” She said with a grin again. She caught her breath and then added, “Let’s make the Fire Fall post on Brownies!”

I loved it. So if you want to find out what a Brownie is, at least in my Series, then check in a couple of days and continue to check there in the future to find out about Borlinders, Kata-Heinies, and many other beings that populate the Island Country of Taran.

Oh don’t get my Brownies confused with the dessert to the left, though it really does look good, doesn’t it. And don’t confuse the Brownie with the Korrigan to the right. Even though they are related to the Brownies, they look a lot different. I don’t have a picture of my Brownie, so you will just have to check out the website for a description.

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