Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Now what?

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Well, I finished The Novel.  At least a draft of it.  I mean, there is a lot of editing I need to do, but for the most part it is all there.

Now what?

I really have no idea what to do next.  I know nothing about the publishing industry.  In all honesty, I don't even know if I want it published.  My only thought, all along, was that when I was finished I would send it to Amy to have her read it.  Because she is the only person in the whole world who will be able to tell me if it is okay.  But I haven't even been able to do that yet.

It feels so totally weird to be done with it.  I've been developing this story and these characters since the spring of 2001.  It's not like I've thought about it every day since then, but I have thought about it a lot.  Especially before I would fall asleep at night, I'd play it through my mind over and over again.  Now that it's written, I'm kind of at a loss.  What do I have to think about before I fall asleep?  The things I was trying to avoid thinking about when I started writing this in the first place, I guess.

I am just so exhausted.  I started writing sometime in January, and honestly, every single day and night since then, I have worked on it in any spare moment I've had.  For the most part, it felt like I was losing my mind.  Aside from giving birth, it is the most intense thing I have ever done.  It's not like I ever had any other opportunity in my life to write this, but in a way, I think I was also putting it off all these years because I knew it wasn't going to be easy.  I had to completely enmesh myself in world that was difficult and often horrifying, and the only way I saw to get out of it was to just push myself to finish.

And the end result is... what?  I wasn't qualified to write this thing.  It isn't about me, or really anything that I've ever experienced.  I did a lot of research to try to make it as realistic as possible and to try to really put myself in the shoes of the character whose story I am telling.  But really, I don't know the first thing about any of this stuff.  I could have gotten it all wrong.  When I'm reading it over, I get the feeling that it is mediocre, half-baked, and overly melodramatic.  I have a friend who is a real writer, and I would be horrified at the thought of her ever reading it.  It is not densely symbolic.  It is not artistic or literary.  It may have an overarching message, but I doubt it would do much to make the world a better place.  When all is said and done, it is really just a story about a girl.  Probably not even that good of story.  I could send it to a hundred publishers and it would get rejected.  Or if someone actually did publish it, it would be bound to get a lot of criticism, and I don't think I could handle that.  Seriously, reading or hearing negative comments about this thing that I've sunk so of my life into might just ruin me.  Writing The Novel was time that I could have spent with my son.

So, I don't know what to do.  In one sense, it is a relief to be done.  But in another sense, it is just so disorienting.

Tomorrow, or Friday maybe, I will print it out and send it to Amy.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dear William (22 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 22 months old!  You just keep getting cuter and cuter.  We've kept many of the same routines that we've had for a while now.  For example, your bedtime routine involves going up the stairs to take a bath around 7:15 or 7:30, then brushing your teeth (sometimes just pretending to do that though), then we put you in your jammies and comb your hair and you hold Blue Seahorse and Monkey Blankie while we read you your favorite story I Love You Through and Through.


Something we've added to the mix this month is ... sitting on the potty.  At first you hated it.  Then you got a book about using the potty and you started to love the potty.  You would march up the stairs for your bath and say "Potty!  Potty!"  You would sit on your potty and read your book.  But then for some reason you started hating the potty again, I don't know why.  Hopefully someday you get over that, and actually decide to use the potty for what it is intended.


Probably your favorite thing that you have started this month is... PLAYING LEGOS!!  Your daddy got you a toddler lego set, although I think the gift was as much for him as it was for you.


Fast hands


You invented a new game, of which I do not approve.  Actually your father helped you invent this game.  We call it "Trust Fall."  It scares the liver out of me.  Behold:

Falling down

Your Auntie Cara and Unkie John visited briefly this month, and we met them to go to the Shakespeare Festival at Forest Park.  You liked the juggling act, but then it was late and past your bedtime, so you threw a fit and we went home before the play started.

Juggling with fire

On Memorial Day weekend, we took you for a hike on the Chubb Trail at Tyson Park.  You rode in your Ergo on Daddy's back.  You loved it!

Hiking the Chubb Trail

You got a whole bunch of new-to-you clothes from your Cousin Brody this month.  You are pretty much wearing all 2T clothes by this point!

Well, William, you have had quite a month.  Sometimes you are silly:

Sunglasses inside


And sometimes you can be moody:

I will throw a fit

But you are always cute!

Love you,



Wednesday, June 1, 2011


My blogging has definitely taken a hit as a result of The Novel.  In fact, pretty much everything in my life has taken a hit because of The Novel.  To make matters worse, a "colleague" recently invited me to contribute a book chapter to an edited volume he is publishing.  This is an academic publication, totally unrelated to The Novel or my full-time job.  It is a great opportunity for me to sort of keep my foot in the door, but I honestly have no idea when I am supposed to get it done.  Oh, and also I am supposed to somehow collaborate with another researcher, who lives in a different country, who I have never met, and whose data are largely un-similar to mine.

Fig & Meli

Does this person look stressed?

I am so desperate for a good night's sleep that I walk around half-sobbing sometimes.

I recently used up all of my remaining "comp time" at work to lock myself in my office and have a (an?) hysterical phone conversation with my BFF of the last 22 (!) years.  Words cannot even describe how thankful I am for her.

At this point, I am not sure if The Novel is making my life better or worse.  It does provide a nice distraction from the almost daily messages sent by the universe to remind me that moving to Saint Louis was the worst idea I ever had.  But the thought has recently occurred to me that maybe... just maybe... if I was not working on The Novel and instead forced myself to go out and explore this god-forsaken city, I would hate it less.  I don't know, though.  Every time I consider going somewhere, then I look at the news and see that there have been 60 jillion auto fatalities that day, and I decide I'm just going to stay at home instead.  And write.

I'm in the midst of Chapter 13, going on 78,000 words.  Getting sort of close to the end.  And then what?

This is probably stress induced craziness, but here, I'm going to for the first time ever provide an excerpt of The Novel for you to read:



“It’ll be okay,” she said, and she peeled out onto the hard road.