Finishing: A Novel Idea
I’ve done it twice, but three times has not been a charm but a curse. And yet I’m within shooting distance, wrapping up novel number three.
I’ve been wrapping it up for the better part of a year.
But now I have a bee in my bonnet. I am finishing this SFD if it makes all my hair fall out. Then I’ll nicely ask the spouse to take me to dinner, somewhere with napkin origami and little mints with the check.
After that I’ll enter even deeper, murkier waters: a second draft.
On afternoons like this when it’s a struggle—I tell you it’s practically spiritual warfare—to resist a nap, I don’t know why I write.
It’s not for the big bucks. Or the fame. In fact, so far fiction has opened a world of waiting and hurt and frustration and waiting some more. And writing stories doesn’t have the legitimacy of, say, kicking doubles butt in a tennis match or landing a real job. What did you do today? Oh, I sat around and made some stuff up. For kicks.
But I’m whining, and I hate it when writers whine. It’s fruitless, and, much worse, it’s unbecoming.
Because most days I’m glad I get to do this hard, scary, beautiful thing. It’s an honor, a privilege, a treat like butterscotch or bacon.
Have you ever heard Seinfeld scold a fellow comedian about whining? It’s inspired:
New Levels of Empty Nest Syndrome-ness
I spend the afternoon in a funk when I realize the friends we scheme to ask in for drinks later would be invested in the Georgia game. (I’m in the mood for talking indie movies and big ideas. And, yes, I do annoy myself.)
I am not throwing a football party, I announce emphatically.
And then I take a nap, in protest of all things Saturday and suburbia.
Poor, poor husband of mine. Do you see what he has to deal with?
After dinner, I challenge him. Now what do we do? Sit here and stare into space some more?
As if it’s his fault that a) our girls grew up and left for college, or b) the SEC scheduled an evening match, or c) I’m having a day.
But the husband gets out the Bananagrams, turns on a record (Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass) and pours me some Green Label. Pretty soon I’m cleaning his Bananagrams clock and smiling. We drift outside to the hammock, where we swap childhood stories and earliest memories, and then head back indoors for some impromptu singing in the kitchen and cold Cokes.
All in all, not a bad night.
The next morning, I thank the spouse for his graciousness and for making me feel better. He grins mischievously.
“All I had to do was throw a few games of Bananagrams.”
Nice try, babe, but I don’t think so.