Five p.m. today and suddenly it hits me. Lassitude in my limbs, a sinking in my stomach, a buzzing in my ears. My head aches sharply. Torpor, not the good kind. Despair.
Oh. I know this sensation. He's arrived.
I hopped the plane without him, but he's not left behind so easily. For over two weeks he's been relentlessly traveling south old-style, relaxing on Amtrak to San Diego, paying coyotes to carry him over the border the opposite way from usual, riding the autobus local down the Pan American highway, hitting the beaches for crispy Huachenango and to ride a few waves, sleeping in hammocks and probably with young traveler girls who don't recognize him for the Spirit Suck he is, catching rides in collectivo taxis, drinking tequila and mescal, listening to mariachi bands, and finally taking the mini-van over three mountain ranges to arrive here, in my oasis of a hideout in the middle of this medium-sized Colonial city. He wastes no time, striding into the library where I sit typing in the middle of an array of Mexican art --- "Ha! You think you're so big!"
"No!" Adreneline jolts me. How dare he show up here, how dare he show up now?
He slides behind me, caressing my neck. A hissing voice in my ear: "Three days left to go and look at you. You're no good. You'll never be any good. Who do you think you're fooling? You're wasting your time. Your book is terrible, you can't write, you're fat, you're old, you're pathetic..."
"No! GO! Split! Basta! Scram!"
I take a deep breath. Breathe out. Tell myself the truth, the things I know:
I'm doing great! The words flow. My heart is open. My second draft has 80 only pages of rewrite to go. My characters are speaking fluently to me, dreaming themselves. Structure is popping into place, THERE IS NOWHERE I'D RATHER BE THAN HERE. I am only me, not anybody else, other people's successes and failures are their paths, not mine. This is now. This is where I need to be. The future is the future. Don't borrow trouble. He's just a voice, my Evil Editor, my Super Ego, my Fear. He has nothing to do with my next task at hand.
I breathe. I breathe.
"Fine. I'll make myself comfortable," he grins at me, and goes to the guest refrigerator for my last ice cold Corona. "I'll be just over there, in that hammock. If you need me."
"NO. I won't."
I turn back to my computer: (Chapter 14: revise last two scenes, Polly and Kira. Add cutting subtext. This is moved to THURSDAY now, so they've already discussed the Ravi note.)
I keep my eyes away from the hammock where he swings.
I breathe. I breathe. I breathe.
Ah, novel writing. Not for the timid.