Hi, Hey, Hello!
Yeah, I know I went dark again, I was all prepared to get home on Friday night and finish this post up, but then I went and got a life instead and that went out the window and so here I am doing it today instead. I got randomly inspired to get back to these characters one afternoon where I pretty much lost the will to work in the heat and got distracted. And then I remembered that I don’t really know my own timeline of this thing anymore so I had to read through all my previous ones, of which there are 55 in total, and I still don’t think it 100% lines up, but it does enough. Please do not ask me where this slots in to the whole thing, because I don’t quite know specifically, it’s all very vague in my head. But there you go.
‘What if I wanted to quit all this?’ Lizzy asked quietly as she gently closed her laptop. Ryan looked up from reading her most recent book and raised an eyebrow.
‘This whole being an author thing? The slaving over a keyboard and hating everything that makes it onto the page thing. My job. The job I chose and backed myself 100% to achieve?’ She sounded dejected and was tugging at her hair absent mindedly.
‘Well what would you do instead?’ Ryan settled the now closed book on his lap and turned to face her fully.
‘Become a lady of leisure.’ She laughed humourlessly.
‘Would you be content doing that though?’
‘Probably not.’ She shrugged.
‘Then what would you do?’ He tried again, gently.
‘I don’t fucking know. I don’t have a plan B. I never had a plan B.’ Her voice was clipped, anger bleeding into it.
‘There’s nothing wrong with that.’ Ryan offered quietly.
‘I never said there was.’ The anger came to the forefront and she winced slightly at herself as the anger hung in the air. Ryan closed his eyes and took a deep breath before he continued talking.
‘I know you didn’t, where is this coming from?’ Lizzy sighed and scrunched her eyes shut.
‘I’ve been staring at my screen for the last hour and there’s nothing. And it goes beyond just regular writer’s block. I can always work through that, this is something else. This is a deep rooted sense of nothing. I can’t pull a sentence together. I’m two chapters into this book and now there is just a black hole of nothingness where I can grab hold of nothing and have no idea where to go. It’s just darkness.’
‘Then stop.’ Ryan said simply and Lizzy opened her eyes to look at him intently.
‘And do what?’ She mirrored his earlier words.
‘I dunno, nothing. You’re burned out. It finally happened. So just stop.’
‘I have a deadline, I can’t just stop.’
‘Have you talked to your agent about this?’
‘Then how do you know they won’t be flexible? It’s better to have a slightly awkward conversation that might actually be beneficial to you then to have you force a book out that you are not even close to being happy with.’
‘But that’s the problem. I don’t know if I will ever be happy with it. That book you’re reading right now? I have rewritten the ending to it about seven times since I submitted it.’
‘You always do that, that doesn’t signify anything. Just take a break. A long break.’
‘It’s not that simple and you know it.’ She quirked an eyebrow.
‘No, I think it might be that simple, I think you’re just making it complicated. You’re scared.’ His voice was soft and it riled Lizzy up in an unexpected way.
‘No, I’m not.’ She snapped.
‘You don’t have to get defensive with me Liz. But you can’t ignore this.’
‘So I admit defeat?’ Her voice dropped and Ryan moved from where he was sat on the armchair to sit next to her, pulling her legs onto his lap.
‘To who? What has defeated you?’ He started tracing random patterns on her bare calf. Lizzy stared at his fingers as they moved in some kind of trance as she spoke softly, any anger she may have felt slowly seeping out of her.
‘This has. My job has. The job that I chose to do. The one that I fought tooth and nail to get into and stick at. The job that people told me I shouldn’t do for so many reasons. I just accept that those people were right?’ Ryan’s hand stilled momentarily, bringing Lizzy back into the room.
‘They’re not right though are they? People love your books. You’ve had your books turned into films. Your books have been on the New York Times Bestseller lists. You’ve done what you wanted to achieve, but sometimes even the best of us have to accept that we are not a superhero and take a break.’ His hand started moving again and Lizzy’s attention settled on it once more.
‘But this is the last book though…’ She protested weakly.
‘So, you want it to be as good as it can be, don’t you? If you’re looking at a screen and you can’t figure out what you want the characters that you have lived with for years to do then you need to take a break.’ He said matter-of-factedly.
‘What like you are?’ She scoffed, shifting her gaze to his face momentarily.
‘If you’re referring to the fact that I have never been in the studio more then since we announced our hiatus then I see you that and raise you almost every single holiday we have ever been on where you claim that you are going to take a couple of weeks off and then don’t. We’re just not taking part in the juggernaut that was our life that threatened to ruin us and burn us out even further, I’m a song writer, writing songs is what I do, no hiatus is going to take that away from me.’
‘Yeah, and I’m a writer. If I don’t write, or can’t write, what the hell do I have?’
‘You still have that, don’t be ridiculous. It’s a break not a retirement.’
‘Of course it’s not a retirement I have people waiting to see how the fuck this thing ends, I can’t leave them hanging like that.’ She smiled.
‘And you won’t, you’ll just leave them for a little bit longer then you originally anticipated.’ His hand stilled again and the room briefly fell silent.
‘What if I never go back to it though?’ Lizzy whispered after a few moments.
‘We both know that you will. But for now, try and relax. Stop stressing about everything, which I know is easier said than done, but think about it. Dyl and Tom are gonna be dads soon and we have a nursery that needs finishing. We’ve never been off for an extended period of time, well ever, really. And before you know it you’ll go back to having about a million different ideas that you want to write and not enough time to write them all again in no time. But it’s okay to say that you need to stop.’
‘How does one even go about doing nothing?’ She laughed.
‘Well first of all you need to talk to your agent and publishers before you can entertain it is an idea. And then you just take it one step at a time. I would suggest we go on holiday, but we can do whatever. Just go off the grid.’
‘A holiday sounds good. I’ll deal with the logistics of it all and then get back to you.’
‘It’ll be fine. It may even be fun. I don’t think we’ve ever not been working the entire time we’ve known each other.’ His hand started moving again, shifting further up her leg.
‘Well that’s depressing.’
‘Let’s not dwell on it and just let it happen.’ Ryan smiled at her and stilled his hand again on her thigh.
‘My family are going to be so confused when I tell them I’m taking a break from this all.’ She joked.
‘Can’t lie, I’m surprised you’re considering it. But I’m grateful that you are.’
‘I’m gonna go deal with this before I chicken out.’ She stretched behind her and grabbed her phone, smiling at Ryan before swinging her legs off his lap and getting up to leave the room.
Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!
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