The Downward Side of a Huge Sigh


The last week was incredibly stressful. When school ends, the library has to be in a certain state of order. This isn’t just convincing students and teachers to return their borrowed materials, but putting every single item in our 13K item collection in its proper place, inventorying the whole thing and then searching for the things we couldn’t account for to begin with, sending out notices to students who have lost books and not made good for them and dealing with parents who think we’re somehow targetting their precious babies unjustly. It all adds up to complete exhaustion and snappy attitude. Stress is such a problem that I try my best to clear my soul of it. I usuallly have a massage at least once a month to help keep myself blanced, and I meditate whenever I can. Exercise and dance do wonders for stress reduction as well. But the occasional week pops up that’s so intense nothing helps. I can’t believe my family hasn’t locked me away already. The worst part has been that I couldn’t write a single word all week. I wanted to…oh lord, how I wanted to. But by the time I got home at night, there was no energy to even think. I would find myself falling asleep over my keyboard at nine o’clock. The need to write became desperate, a physical craving that ached in my belly.

Luckily, every year during the week after school lets out, we go to the beach with my parents and sister. We don’t plan any side trips while we’re here. We get up, hit the beach, swim and sun and read and nap. And I write. I do it on paper, since carrying the laptop to the sand is just asking for trouble. But now that I’m breathing again, and sleeping enough, and not dealing with fifty people demanding my energy and time, it’s like the first time I ever tried writing. I’m completely excited by all the characters in my head. Scenes flash through like glittering movie trailers, except I like all of them, and I can’t wait to write them down. I started hearing two characters from the new project. their voices as clear and individual as if they were real people.

Last night the moon was full. My husband and I walked down to the beach in the dark, and stood for a long time staring at the path of light the moon made on the water. Suddenly a cloud moved in front of the moon, obliterating the path and leaving only a patch of moonlight far out to sea. In the middle of that patch a boat’s lights glimmered, and I started musing aloud about what I saw. The musing grew into a scene, one I had to get onto paper. I flew back to the house to make sure I wouldn’t lose it.

The last week was awful, but now that it’s over, I feel like I’m breathing out at last. And it feels so good.


7 comments to The Downward Side of a Huge Sigh

  • Mikaela

    I know exactly how you feel. It feels like I have ran a marathon this last month, but it is finally over, and I can focus on the writing. Maybe I will actually finish a second draft this summer.

  • I’ve actually been lucky in that I’ve been able to focus quite a bit on my writing the past few days. In the past 10 days I’ve written around 20k words and I’m absolutely psyched I’ve gotten this far (I’m knocking on wood as we speak). This morning I got up to a sunny day, the only one we’ll have looks like until we go to WV for a couple days to camp on my Dad’s property in “the holler.” I looked out at the grass that I didn’t mow last weekend and thought, myeeeahh, I guess it’ll hold off till we get back. I just don’t want to stop a day until we leave for WV because I just can’t.

    The housework has been suffering too, but this is the best something has flowed in a while. I think it’s the deadline. I’ve learned a while ago that I can’t impose a deadline on myself, but if someone has one I have to meet, I’ll meet it.

    By the by, it’s funny. I scroll down on these to see who posted it because I have voices for all of you that are likely nowhere near what you sound like, but if I read it in a certain voice and then I find it’s someone else it throws me. I’m odd, I know, but that’s what I do.

  • I teared up, Misty.
    I knwo exactly how you feel.
    (sniff sniff)

  • Emily Leverett

    I know just how you feel. When school ended for me this summer, it was followed by a flurry of activity and work and when I finally got a chance to slow down (today) the editing started to go well. I love the beach, too.

  • This is the time of year I wish I worked in secondary ed rather than higher ed. I’m buried writing reports right now.

  • Beatriz

    That was magical.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Lovely post, Misty. I’m so glad your hell week is over and the words are flowing again. The world is a better place when you’re writing, and I don’t just mean that generally. I mean when you, Misty Massey, are writing, the world is a better place…