2,700. It doesn’t sound like a lot. Well, if your talking dollars then opinions vary. Not a lot for a car, too much for a hotel room. Not that bad for a trip to some far distant country. Way too much for a trip to St. Louis. But when you’re talking pages, it doesn’t sound that bad. Pages of a book or a series of books is not out of hand. But when you’re waiting to begin, it is immense.
I’m writing a series. It’s called the Madness Wars. It is an epic series, plotted to be four books long. I have three written. The fourth is within the brush of the fingers. Reaching hands, fighting to pull it in, can only graze with the tips of the fingers to knock it further away. It’s maddeningly close. I can smell the blood and smoke. The sound of the crows screaming on the battlefields of the book fill my dreams. I can see the characters in crowds at the super market, can see them through the throng staring at me, coated in blood and snarling for their enemies. But I can’t start yet.
I have to read.
Reading is amazing. Many of you will agree. The book in your hands. The warmth of the kindle on your thigh. Whatever mode of consumption, reading a book is indescribable. You can gaze into the distance when you’re in a book, can see further than any other place on Earth. No other vista is quite as captivating as a good book. I know people who are obsessed with the view. I am writing for those people. I love a book in my hands, but now I’m reading to write.
2,700 pages I need to read so I can remember the story, so I can reach the momentum, so I can hit the ground racing. I need to submerge myself in the telling again before I can begin. And I can’t read fast enough.
The last book I wrote was called Deria. It was the second in a series I am calling the Tree Frog Trilogy. It was finished before it really began, and I found myself at the end of the book on November 16th. That was the last time I wrote. Since then, I have been on what has been called a “long break”. During that break, I needed to read all of The Madness Wars.
I’m not good on break. Vacation is not a desired state with me. When I am bringing things to life on this board, I can feel the hand of God moving within me. I feel the life of my characters vibrant and flowing through me. I ride their highs. I plummet to their lows. I am alive in a way that no other state can bring me to. When I’m not writing, I’m dead.
This is my reality now. When I lay my head down on my pillow at night, I can hear the board. The keys are being hit. The words are being written. Night before last, I got up twice to steal away downstairs to see if I was working in my office. You see, I couldn’t be sure.
When I was driving down the street Wednesday last week and I saw Harpo on the corner of Sunshine and Scenic, I didn’t know for sure if I was in the car. I could have been here. I could have been writing. He stood with his father’s sword in hand, its purple glowing runes strobing. And I couldn’t be sure.
Today I stepped in something wet in my office before I had turned on the light. Dog pee, I was positive. How one of my dogs had gotten past the closed door, I could not begin to explain, but it had happened. When I turned on the light and saw the severed arm of the warrior Maw sitting on my floor, I was confused. I might be writing. I looked up to see if I was at my desk.
Do you see that they are right there? Waiting for me to begin. They stare at me from the back seat of my car. They are sitting in my office when I come back from the bathroom. They can be anywhere I look right now, can show up at any time. Phantoms and spirits from a world beyond this one are waiting for me. They are as impatient as I.
I have 900 more pages to read before I am back here, before I can sit at this desk and type the most exciting word in the English language, before I can type Prologue. 900 more pages before they are more than a wraith staring at me from the shower stall. 900 more before the wait is over and I can begin.