[writing|cancer] Sunspin, chemo and me

Got my agent’s response to the first part of Calamity of So Long A Life yesterday. She has recommended a number of changes, some of them pretty deep regarding book structure and so forth.

Ordinarily I’d be on this like a tiger on a monkey, but I had a very weird reaction yesterday. I got quite stressed out and unhappy about the magnitude of the changes. Not in the sense of “oh, I cannot disfigure the Precious!”, but more in the sense of “oh, shit, I don’t have enough time for this!”

This is the largest set of changes she’s ever called for in one of my manuscripts. Which makes perfect sense, since I’m taking a lot of creative risks with Sunspin and trying out new techniques in outlining, drafting, storytelling. As usual, I’m learning as I go. My agent’s feedback is part of my tuition.

It’s just the intersection between the deepening of my chemo cycle and the demands of the manuscript is highly unfavorable. Offhand, if I were ordinarily healthy, I’d call this two or three weeks of pretty intense work. In my current state…? Four to five calendar weeks, possibly, if I could somehow avoid decaying further into chemo fog. And this is only the first portion of Calamity.

What this means as a practical matter is I’m extremely unlikely to have the book ready to go to market this fall. That affects no one but me — I wrote this on spec, there’s absolutely no deadline. But I feel like I’m failing myself. And yesterday that sense of failure, of once more being compromised by cancer, was very emotionally overwhelming.

Of course I’ll do what I always do. Pick myself up, develop an action plan, and go forward. The book will be done when it’s done. I’m certainly not disappointed in my agent’s response. That’s her job. I am rather disappointed in my own reaction to her response.

Ah, chemo, the wondrous ways you inflect my brain. Fuck cancer.