Graveyards and Plots
Finishing a draft is weird. There’s a sense of being done with something, and the accompanying sensations of relief and accomplishment, followed a few femtoseconds later by the dread of slogging through it again, this time with feeling. It’s like discovering, at the end of a marathon(1), that marathons have an indeterminate number of laps.
But it’s also a little like burying someone, if you’re the sort of person who buries people intending to dig them up a few days or weeks later so you can rebuild them to be better and then reanimate the result to
terrorize the countryside bring joy and enlightenment to your putative readership. (2)
But mostly it’s like Shakespeare’s crocodile: shaped like itself. It’s a liminal moment, between creation and refinement, between the blush of romance and commitment for the long haul, between
a rock and a hard place the Devil and the deep blue sea mere promise and real fulfillment.
Okay, got it: physical therapy. You complete a set of bone-crushing, joint-popping, muscle-tearing exercises,(3) and what do you do next? Another set. And another. Then you move on to the next machine/set of manacles and do those. And when you’re done for the day, you come back later in the week and repeat the whole process, at the end of which…you’re better off than you were when you started.
Except you also possess something that didn’t exist before, the book you wrote. Which you don’t get with physical therapy, unless your place is cooler than mine.
Damn, analogies are tricky. Anyway, the first draft is done.
(1) This is pure speculation on my part, in metaphorical terms. I’ve never done a marathon. For all I know the two moments have nothing in common at all. But it sounded good.
(2) Yeah, this is speculative too. Honest.
(3) This is hyperbole. There’s an important difference between your suffering during PT and the torments of the damned: The damned don’t wear sneakers.