Circumnavigation

It’s been a million years since I’ve written a blog post. I finished the first draft of my most recent novel since the last time I checked in here, and it took all the mental energy I possessed. I wrote ‘The End’ on August 30th, just in time for my teenagers to head back to their co-op and dual enrollment classes, and for my other work responsibilities to heat up. Not a moment too soon. Not a brain cell to spare.

I have spent the time since then trying not to think about my novel. I want to forget what I’ve written so I can approach it with a modicum of surprise when it’s time to edit. But, of course, I’ve thought of little else. My characters people my daytime thoughts and my dreams, particularly if I’ve taken the occasional dose of ZzzQuil. If anything, they’re more real to me now than they were when I was bringing them into being less than a month ago.

Soon I will begin the familiar journey of hating, loving, and modifying what I penned in secret. It will be less taxing, in some ways, to edit my work than it was to create it but not less emotional. When I’ve done what I can do with the manuscript, I will send it to my agent. Again I will try not to think about it–because what’s done is done. I will try to fill my head with other things while I wait.

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But the story will stick in my mind like something I heard once, like something someone else made up a long time ago, until I’m struck by a new image in the fog. Then I will start down another path guided by a different star.

Come On In

I’m still tinkering with my website since it’s pretty new. And, yes, I mean tinkering. Like an old man in a shop, bent over tools he doesn’t actually use.

Since returning from the writer’s conference, I’ve spent a bazillion brain cells adding to my ‘About’ page because, well, this is What You Do. It’s scary since I love a certain amount of anonymity. On the other hand, people want to know things about other people. I want to know things about you, though we may never meet.

Since the ‘About’ page is static on my website (doesn’t go to anyone’s inbox), I thought I’d add a link┬áhere in case you want to check it out. Take this as permission to snoop in my bathroom cabinet.

The End of the Beginning (or the Beginning of the End)

Last night, I finished the first draft of my current novel. After I typed the last words, I hit save, closed my laptop, and stared at my closet doors.

From my writing perch, AKA my bed, I thought about all the hours I’d spent creating this story. It was six months of good/hard//exhausting.

And now it’s time to leave story world and become Ruthless Editor.

woman person knife kitchen
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I wanted to do something to celebrate getting over this big hurdle, but I didn’t want to get out of my pajama pants, so I told my husband and kids to get ice cream and live it up without me.

How did I celebrate? By watching an Alfred Hitchcock Hour on YouTube by myself.

And now, to kill my darlings.

Are You A School Shooter? Am I?

The novel I’m working on involves a school shooting. As I wrap up the book, I find myself gloomy and depressed, and it takes me forever to figure out why.

Then I do.

I’ve immersed myself in a dark fictional world every day for the last several months. What’s worse, it isn’t a dystopian, that’ll-never-really-happen world. It’s a turn-on-the-news-for-the-latest-incident kind of place.

I educate my kids at home–partly because we lived abroad for a chunk of their childhoods, and it was easier to take school with us where ever we happened to be–but I have lots of friends with kids in public schools. My husband teaches in one. So do both of my parents.

School shootings affect me, too.

architecture boys brick wall bricks
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One of the big themes in my book is whether nature or nurture has a bigger impact on who people become. Can we pass on certain violent traits to our kids? How can we know if we’re parenting a potential monster? Are there signs? Whose fault is it when a teenager does something horrific?

I’m a Christian. While I don’t write stereotypical Christian fiction, God figures in my fictional worlds because he looms large in MY world. When I open my Bible, I read the story of a broken, pain-soaked world. I see people hurting each other, shaking their fists at the sky while justifying their actions.

I believe everyone, including myself, is fundamentally messed up and in need of rescuing.

Still, what makes some people kill and not others?

These are some of the questions I’m asking. No wonder I’ve been feeling heavy.