I am consumed by words these days (and nights) and loving it.
Yesterday, I pulled out the last version of my novel, Dunderhead, which I haven’t touched since December 2008. I hadn’t meant to ignore it for more than a year but life, and other writing, got in the way.
It’s a good thing, though. When advised to “put the novel in a drawer for a year,” I balked. I didn’t have that kind of time. I needed to finish it now. But I had finished editing the 2008 draft and just didn’t get back to it – for nearly fourteen months.
But like fine wine, writing can age well in a dark, out-of-the-way place.
CAN, not necessarily does.
So it was with trepidation that I pulled out the 325-page manuscript. First, I marveled that I wrote that many pages of a coherent story. Second, I was relieved to discover that the writing was not as bad as I expected. I thought maybe with so much distance from it, I would see the novel as I had my first one (Starter Marriage) – juvenile and too obviously “writerly.”
But Dunderhead held up, at least as a draft. It wasn’t spectacular though, something I’d hoped for in the back of my mind. That somehow in the drawer my lump of coal would have turned into a diamond and I wouldn’t have to work on it anymore. Alas.
I’m also reading a novel written by a friend from Goddard who is looking for final input on her manuscript. It great to see her 350 pages sitting next to mine. A tribute to the blood, sweat, tears, and coffee/wine that is the writer’s life.
About a month ago, I started writing my life story (I know, talk about narcissistic). It’s not fit for public consumption and is not written in a writerly fashion at all – mostly memories and grudges and highlights/lowlights of growing up in one of the meth capitals of the world. Not terribly interesting reading but quite therapeutic. And I’m only up to fourth grade!
Today I began reading The Serialist by David Gordon, which I picked up yesterday at the library. This is a debut novel that had me laughing in the first four pages. It’s funny and outrageous and smartly written and makes me green with envy. But it also spurs me on to keep working on Dunderhead.
So despite working part-time, caring for a family (including a new adorable puppy), and volunteering, I must continue to carve out time for writing and reading.
For someday, someone will pick up my book and wish they could write like me.