Sing me a song of a lass that is gone

Posted on Sep 23, 2014 in Blog
I had such good plans this month.

Such good, smart, rigorous blogging plans. I was going to blog about Mad Men! I was going to talk about Emma Watson and HeForShe and Roxane Gay and all of these other Important Things, besides.

I was going to finish that draft first, of course. And then I was going to blog.

Instead, I have mostly been watching Outlander. 

I did also manage to finish a draft, though, so there is that.

Ah, Outlander. I don’t remember exactly when I read the books for the first time–maybe at the end of high school? A bit before?–but once you step into the world of Jamie Fraser, you never quite forget it. Guilty pleasure with an emphasis on pleasure, that is for sure.

I had big plans to hold off on watching the series until the first season had ended and I could binge it all at once, but clearly we can all see how well that went. And having just finished the episode with the wedding, let me say this–I AM GLAD THAT I DIDN’T WAIT, OKAY? GLAD GLAD GLAD.

I mean, just–heavens to Betsy. Between the Scottish man scenery and the Scottish actual scenery and the not-too-shabby-herself main lady of the show, it’s a feast for the eyes all the way through. And there are, naturally, Scottish accents all over the place, which is delicious. If I can’t be living in Scotland right now, at least I can close my eyes while the TV is on and pretend. I will admit to some cringing during the first episode–I don’t know why this was but the accents seemed so forced during the first part of the show, like they were all ramping up the Scottishness of things–but it’s all much better now.

And Jamie Fraser is alive in TV flesh now, which basically makes everything okay.

Joking aside, I’m actually quite pleased with what the show has managed to accomplish so far. It’s a female-centric show about a woman trying to take charge of her own destiny in a world where that destiny, to all intents and purposes, has been taken away. It has Don Draper sexism multiplied by a factor of 100. It has banter. It has heart. It has hope, and belief.

Have I mentioned the accents? And Jamie Fraser in the flesh? (Also I have not forgotten Christina Hendricks, never fear. I will get back to Mad Men eventually.)

The first few weeks after finishing a draft are always strange. Life feels bogged out and empty in unexpected ways. Theoretically there are so many things I could be doing (practising music, catching up on submissions, cleaning house, even reading) but when that initial push to get a draft out is gone–when the pressure to sit down and get those thousand or so words out onto the page has disappeared–it always feels like I’ve forgotten how to fill the day. What do you mean, there’s no pressing anxiety about a draft? HOW DO I HANDLE THIS FREEDOM? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

Of course work will come back soon enough. Of course that draft is far (so far) from finished. But those moments after the first rush of completion don’t get any easier, or they haven’t, for me. You slip into that world for so long and then all of a sudden find yourself out of it, again, with a new book in front of you. The ground not quite steady under your feet.

Perhaps, then, it is not in fact so odd for me to find myself watching this show–of all shows–in the after-draft days. You step into another world and learn a different kind of language each time you step into a book. The rhythms in this book are different from the books that have gone before, and they will be different again the next time you sit down. You’re unsure of yourself all over  again. Half in one world, half in another. (You were pretty sure during those last few weeks of that draft, weren’t you? Most of the heavy work behind you now and only a few spaces left to fill in.)

It is not, of course, quite the same thing as touching a standing stone and finding yourself thrown two hundred years back in time, but you get the idea.

Tomorrow I start my full-time gig at work. Here’s to being fully out of novel world for a little while. To paycheques and paying down debt and a winter of shorter pieces–essays, and stories, and maybe even a Mad Men blog or two.

And to the draft that sits finished on my hard drive,  even though months of revision doubtless lie ahead. To five hundred words (or more) a day every day for five months. I’ll raise a wee glass to that.