I’ve been seriously grumpy lately. There are many reasons for my grumpiness, but one of the main culprits is that I haven’t been writing as much as I want to. Yes, I write a column and articles for Women in Higher Education. Yes, I wrote a lecture on the artifacts of white supremacy that I gave at the College of Charleston. Yes, I wrote up a survey about why you should all move to Florida like I did.
And yet, I feel like I’m still writing less than I want to.
What occurred to me today is that I’m writing less because I’m currently stuck in-between two projects. Months ago, I finished all the writing I had to complete for my forthcoming Grace Period (Killing the Buddha press), a collection of essays about my slow transition out of academia, the loss of dreams, and the long process of learning how to manage where I happened to land. I’ve only been editing what needs to be edited. Now, the soon-to-be book is in the hands of my excellent copy editor while I worry about everything else that needs to be finished and my strategies for book promotion.
The other project is one that I decided to resurrect, a cultural analysis and history of zombie apocalypses in America. For awhile, this book was one that I wanted to write, but eventually I decided not to. It’s a long boring story, but what I realized is that I wanted to write this book more than I wanted to let it go. So, I’m writing it. This book is not a retread of The Zombies Are Coming!, which was about how some Americans try to prepare for the reality of the zombie apocalypse. Instead, it’s a book about what fictional apocalypses can tell us about the moment we happen to inhabit and American attachments to racial and gendered violence. What do these monsters tell us about ourselves? What can we learn from the common pairing of zombies and doomsday? Why the heck are zombie apocalypses so popular? I’ve completed part of this book, but I wanted to get it under contract before I moved further. Right now, a press is currently reviewing (I’m excited! I want to puke! I’m trying to forget it’s out for review!). I’m waiting to hear whether the press thinks my book proposal merits a book, which means that I’m waiting to write anything more until I have news, good or bad. I need to know if this press wants the book or whether I need to try another press. I’m waiting, and as you likely already know, I’m remarkably terrible at waiting.
I’m waiting. I’m not writing, and I’m doing all of the parts of the business of being a writer that I don’t really like: proposals, finishing touches, and promotion. All of this to say, I’m trying to remind myself writing is not all I do as a writer (I wish!), and that’s okay. One project will be finished, and another will begin again. I just have to make it past this phase. It will pass, and then, I can dig into some writing that I sorely miss.