Feeling Snappish in Oysterville

Apr 18, 2012 | 3 comments

1947 Label

     My yesterday wasn’t very different from most other days thus far in 2012.  In fact, on the face of it, it should have been great.  The calendar showed it as all white space – my favorite kind of day.  I could work at the computer without interruption for a full six or eight or even ten hours.  And I did.
     But by the time Nyel returned from his day of subbing at the high school, I was feeling annoyed, let-down, and just plain ornery.  We spent our half-hour of ‘quality time’ with the baby chicks, and I was snappish at them.  I was unpleasant about what we were having for dinner.  I found myself being irritated by a couple of e-mail messages.  And the more I chafed, the worse I felt.
     A good night’s sleep took care of it – thank goodness!  I’m usually a pretty even-tempered sort of person.  Well, maybe not even-tempered exactly, but certainly not prone to glowering dark moods.  I can only conclude that I was suffering from “Writer’s Let Down” if there is such a thing.
     Yesterday I all but finished the first draft of “Espy’s Own: Willard of Oysterville” (working title).  But the last paragraph of the last chapter would NOT allow itself be written.  After awhile I let it go and reviewed the book from start to finish, asking myself questions like “Does it hang together?” and “Are there big gaps?” and “Have I repeated myself here and there?”  And, of course the biggees – “Is it any good?” and “Who will care?”
     Intermittently, I returned to the last chapter and that final paragraph. I know what I want to convey and I know the tone I want to take.  But I still couldn’t find the words.  Maybe today…
     Meanwhile, I’m printing out the draft – all 250 pages.  During the next few weeks I will enlist Nyel’s help.  He’ll read; I’ll listen – a chapter each day.  For me, that’s the best way I can answer those hard questions and begin to clarify how to proceed with draft two.
     Sometimes I wonder how other writers manage.  Are there points in their writing process that make them snappish?  Probably. 


  1. Betsy

    Congratulations on draft 1 – what an accomplishment! I for one can’t wait for the final version.

  2. Irene Pomerinke

    I care!! I’m excited about your book as I have been a big fan of Willard Espy’s “word” books. I worked in a used book store for 20 years so was able to pick up Willard’s books and I cherish them.

  3. Pat Thomas

    My commiserations, Sydney. I know you know that stepping away from a project is always the way–to let it sift and figure itself out, and it seems impossible, never to happen, and then it does. Meanwhile we can hope for friends and family not to pack up and run away! Nyel will soldier on, good guy that he is, but you’d better make nice with those chickies…


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