Sometimes Asthma Is Good for Something

Finished my line edits on the Christmas novel, for real this time. Started the last 20 pages at 433, finished at 558. A slower pace than I had been working at, probably because the things that weren’t right needed more pondering than simply adding or removing a comma or finding a more descriptive verb than “said.”

My plans for the day did not involve getting up that early, and certainly not in order to edit. I was actually planning to sleep until 6 and simply get up, get ready for work, and get Friday at the office over with. The universe had other plans. I woke up at 3:48 from a nightmare in which I had tried to plug something into a wall socket, only to have the current run through the cord. I could feel my left hand shaking and managed to drop it. Then I woke up, and my left hand was shaking, and I freaked right the hell out.

My hand was a foot from the nearest socket. I was lying on my side, and it was pinching a nerve somewhere. After I got a drink and lay back down to go back to sleep, I found that I couldn’t. I was anxious. Restless. Something was wrong.

Generally when I get that feeling, it is from an asthma attack. I have almost no other symptoms, and certainly not the obvious ones like coughing or wheezing. I am still breathing; I can’t tell that something is wrong. That’s a little scary, to be honest. It makes me glad for my subconscious monitoring that can send up a warning signal.

This turned out to be a more severe disruption in breathing than I have had for a while. A couple years, perhaps. I gagged and nearly threw up I was coughing so hard, once I took the hit on my inhaler. By the time I stopped coughing and had cleared my lungs enough to breathe normally again, it was 415 and I was wound up with adrenaline and fear. Needless to say, sleep was not going to come quickly, and I saw little point in tossing and turning for 30-45 minutes just to get an hour of sleep, when I was already up, fully awake, and not feeling unrested despite the abbreviated night.

I contemplated writing. There were no words there; no stories. My mind is not in the storytelling place right now.

I considered sewing, but despite my mental acuity, I could tell my fingers were not awake enough for work that requires precise motor skills.

Which left my line editing project – something I was awake enough to do, and a project that would engage me enough to keep me from dwelling on the nightmare or the asthma.

So I got to work. I do understand why I found so few problems with the last pages before; they really were written with a cleaner narrative line than the rest of the story. Probably this is because they were, well, written last. The ending was clear to me when I wrote it so there were fewer false starts or muddled ideas. It was written with the style and tone that had been developed in the previous 45,000 words and my full knowledge of the characters’ personalities and perspectives. I did find enough things I missed before to be glad I went back over it, but it was definitely the smoothest section of the whole book.

And now I am finished with my line editing pass. All that remains is to integrate them into my electronic file and do one last read-through to be sure none of my word shifts created new echoes. You know, “all.”  But the heavy lifting is done.

Now to just finish the companion novelette before October….


1 Comment

Filed under Housekeeping, Writing

One response to “Sometimes Asthma Is Good for Something

  1. ABE


    Ending something – especially when you’re satisfied – is such a good feeling.

    Enjoy. Celebrate. Breathe.

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