So, I’m 20,000 words into the next novel. I’m getting acquainted with the woman who is making an appearance on my computer. She’s a bit like me, only bitchier, at least at the beginning of the book. Not her fault. She’s been married to a bully of a husband for forty years and for some reason she’s hung in there. Not my problem, but I can identify.
One morning she wakes up next to him and discovers that he’s dead. Without saying goodbye and with no indication that he was about to bow out. She closes his eyes and wonders, what now?
The what now? is, of course, the story, and a fourth of the way in, Edith hasn’t much of a clue. But her hair is now blonde, not gray, and she’s thinking about doing something about her chin. And she’s confused about the coroner’s report about the contents of Art’s blood. Anti-depressants in a man who wouldn’t swallow an aspirin?
I am so excited to be able to delve into Edith and Art’s lives, into their son’s disrupted family, into how we think we understand when, in reality, we may not have clue about the people closest to us.
And I also haven’t a clue on how this story will end. That’s the best part of all. The writing adrenalin is spurting, watering my dreams. I wake up and try to remember why Art’s pockets contain receipts from local rib joints when he wouldn’t touch his food with his fingers, ever.
This is the work I love. Getting to know people I never knew existed, and which don’t exist except in my imagination and on my computer screen. And in my midnight fantasies.
I spend a little time, over early morning coffee, thinking about my other good friends, the school counselor in Wednesday Club, the hockey player in Mom, the college friends in Solarium, and the old lady and her runaway friend in Graffiti Grandma. I read about how I can promote them with ads on the internet, how I can blog about my e-books on several electronic destinations created for writers like me, how I can ask for reviews and pats on the back from others looking for the same sort of support from me.
I am exhausted thinking about all that.
I go find Edith. Edith is learning to swear a little and to reflect for a moment on the black man with clipped gray hair she finds at her table at the rib joint. Who knows what’s next? I don’t.
This is not a YA novel. This is an OA novel. It will appeal, first of all, to its author, and then maybe, to other folks for whom vampires, dystopia, avengers and rumpled sheets have little appeal. Well, maybe the rumpled sheets. Edith is open to new experiences.