Never promise what you canâ€™t deliver.
I said Iâ€™d post a photo of me in Star Trek costume. And Iâ€™m looking for the picture. But it may take a while longer, because I think the photo is buried somewhere in this pile of stuff. Letâ€™s just hope itâ€™s not under any overdue bills, or a message from the fire department that my husband is trapped down a well. The pile has grown out of control while I worked on the first draft of my new novel.
Which, finally, Iâ€™ve finished. Right on deadline. To explain: The Imminent Deadline is the point in the writing cycle when I lock myself away with my computer, a thesaurus, and any legal stimulants I can lay my hands on. I regress socially. According to the people who live with me, anyhow. Once, I came out of my office and found that my children had taped a note to the door: â€œWarning â€“ she eats her young.â€ Another time, when the deadline loomed my husband simply threw the kids in the car and headed to Disneyland.
This time I typed like a maniac until I knew my editor was about to leave the office for the day, and pushed Send. I thrust my fists in the air, thinking, Victory! Then I pulled my hands down, thinking, Holy crap, did I spell-check?
I gaped at the screen for a minute and realized it was too late to do anything about it. I shut down the stereo. Iâ€™d been listening to my deadline playlist: Rachmaninoff, Carmina Buranaâ€¦ okay, I lie. Foo Fighters and the 300 soundtrack. Which may explain why my heroine, a forensic psychiatrist who investigates whether victims have been murdered or have killed themselves, spends the final third of the novel shouting â€œThis. Is. Suicide!â€ Need to edit that. Then I took off my writing tiara, picked up the empty coffee mugs and scattered boxes of Junior Mints, and stumbled out of the writing bunker into the fresh air. I looked up, saw a terrifying yellow ball in the sky, and ran back inside, shrieking, â€œIt burns, it burns!â€ I caught my breath. And thought: Now, whereâ€™s that Star Trek photo?
So far Iâ€™ve found my wedding album and my sonâ€™s permanent record. And a takeout order my kids phoned in to the Chinese place, which I was probably supposed to pick up last week. But Iâ€™m not done yet.