I've been working on my second book since 2011. Is that possible?
It started slowly. My protagonist Gwendolyn began to form back then, and the first few sentences came in the early days too.
And I remember being so excited to get started on that book and having to put it down to do another round of edits on Meet You There.
I'm caught in between analogue and digital when it comes to writing process. I still prefer reading and editing on paper and I think I've finally become whatever the writing-tool version of ambidextrous is.
So this past weekend, I wrote with my friend Kathy for a few hours (remotely, of course, on Slack). And I was reading over Summer Fallow because it's been so long since I touched it that I needed a refresher on basic plot. And I found that I really had just lost interest in the characters, the locations, the background ... Ugh. I didn't feel like working on it at all.
This could be because I've had another idea stewing lately and wrote a few paragraphs down the week before, just so I'd remember what I was thinking. Maybe that was enough - my brain shifted over to this new cast of characters and plot line. Or maybe I just took too long to resolve everything in Summer Fallow and now it's too late!
Is there an expiry date on works in progress?
i have been alone before
i have walked alone before
listening to the sound of my shoes on the gravel
i have been angry at men before
when i am alone
men are singular
one big loud bossy group of men
who don't want to wait for me at the crosswalk
women we stop
we look both ways
still - grown women
we wait our turn
we smile at each other
keep our bodies small
tight arms tucked in at our sides
close to our ribs
pay attention to our bags
to our bodies
because the streets are pretty empty
and you never know
you just never know
even in daylight
This is going to sound odd, probably. But I was putting together my office this afternoon and I was trying to remember what I was like before I had Margot. She's almost four now, and she pretty much took over my life from the moment she was born. Four years is a long time. Apparently enough time to forget yourself.
I started digging through my old things, trying to remember what I used to do with my time. I added some old keepsakes to my bulletin board, but they were, like old. I had some cool buttons but they were so dirty! They'd been sitting in a box for years. And I thought, I must be missing something. I put up some school stuff, and then I'd taken out this painting my mom did when I was trying to come up with the cover of Meet You There. I originally wanted a hand with string around the wrist, like from the ceremony near the end of the book.
And I looked at it propped up on the wall and I thought - oh, fuck - I'm an author! And I thought more about that, and started to remember just how much of my life and identity was about reading and writing and yummy words. Those things just were not compatible with having a baby. And I guess I just forgot about them.
I have been in a writing group that meets weekly (kinda) and I have been working on a book for the past five years. But I haven't felt like a writer since I became a mom. That's what was missing.
So, anyway. I thought I'd just start getting some thoughts down regularly and see how that feels. (Spoiler: It will feel good.)