My son has an odd habit. It's primarily because he hates reverberating sound, but the bathroom he uses most has a fan attached to the light. Hit the switch and you're pretty sure a lawnmower has gone on somewhere nearby. Now, he's all right if WE put the light on for his baths or to brush teeth or to take him in there ourselves and he's content to do his business if ti's on.
But when he says the magic word-- slightly afraid sounding, because it couldn't wait for a commercial???--"Potty!", it's an open-all-hatches, run-for-your-lives experience. His other odd habit is shimmying out of his pants on the waaaaay to the bathroom (This was fun at the sushi restaurant, when he mooned half the establishment in his desperation to make it on time.) is probably for another blog post. But I digress.
The point is, when my son goes to the bathroom on his own, he does it in the dark. You go check on him and all your see is the whites of his eyes and his teeth gleaming at you from the shadows. When he gets older, this might take on a tiger like quality, but for now, he looks like the wild tomcat you catch on top of your beloved kitty in the middle of the night; haunched, wary and at the same time, quite proud of himself. So, then you turn the lights on, inspect him for cleanliness, then let him go. It's the same every time.
The other day, I walked in, not shocked at all that he was wailing, "I'm done!" from the pits of despair again and I remind him, "You know...it's okay to poo with the lights on."
And that's when I realized there's a lesson there that more than Moo needs to learn.
See, me, I'm a CP person. I need my CP. No, wait, let me truly express.
I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEED my CP.
I write, I giggle in self-appreciation at my own intelligence and cleverness and wit and then I wallow in terrified guilt. What if I'm just pleasing myself? What if this is crap of the highest order that not even the grand Nora could polish into more than a poodle's stinky twinkie? So, I mail it off to my CP so that she can smell it and tell me if it's worth continuing. I am, in all due honesty, a ball of insecurity and prolific one at that. My CP, thankfully, has not taken to hiding from me yet. (Give her time.)
But she's a different type--and this isn't a dig, so nobody gets to think it is. Her writing insecurities involve word quantity and word choice. Has she layered enough? Is this the right thing to say? Is there more white space than there should be? I picture her with a mondo-sized tub of word polish, loving her sentences into beautiful, golden script that she'll hopefully allow me to blind my eyes on.
Then I look down at my hastily swiped over plate of poo that I've served up to her and feel, well...shitty.
Shouldn't I put that kind of love and affection into it before I serve it to her? Shouldn't I be so kind that I make sure it's the best damn poo she's ever seen? And I work harder, but my own process strictly is that I need to see the story through, then polish. I polish in the middle and I kill the flow. That's just how it goes. I just can't seem to make the chapters keep flowing forward if I don't know that the last ones made any sense. The insecurities about my plots or my motivations or any number of issues get louder and louder and I simply must have her opinion or I'll crack. Do I have guilt that if I'm on a roll, I bombard her with nearly a chapter a day while she permits me to peek at one every six months?
You bet your golden arse I do.
But, apparently, I poo with the lights on while she's a light's off kinda gal. Maybe my needing to put light on my work as I go--thus making a victim out of my CP-- makes me co-dependent. I'm all right with that, and I've certainly been called worse, as long as she continues not to mind.
Does it make me a glory hound? Am I just seeking affirmation and praise so that I can feel good about who I am and continue to attempt to publish without purposely ending my life believing I will win posthumous awards for my misunderstood grandeur? Am I wookin por wub in all da wong paces? Hard to say. It's long been established that I am in deep need of psychological services. But does wanting to have my writing checked over for horrible left turns make me evil, vain and abusive to my CP? This blog post probably does, but no, I'm going to go out on a limb and say something I hope will take the burden from other writers who also need the light so badly.
It's okay to poo with the lights on. If your CP doesn't mind, neither should you.
And I think that's all the thinking I should have to--or be allowed to--do on a Monday Morning.
Tomorrow, Tuesday Teach Day Lesson: We begin the first of "The 7 Deadly Sins of Romance Writing" series!