Thu 19 Apr 2012
Wow, this is a dusty blog! I had to bring in the upright vacuum cleaner and the heavy-duty sweeper to even find my way to the panel where one writes new posts.
Practically a whole year has whisked behind me since I’ve posted here. There I was, yelling at the snakes–no, I mean making a deal with the snakes that they would leave me alone–and now it’s a whole year later and time to make another deal with them. (Last year they behaved perfectly, but you can’t count on them remembering from year to year, not after they’ve so recently awakened from their long winter’s nap.)
It’s been a mild, sunny spring, and I am writing a new book. I have a contract for a book I’m calling “The Opposite of Maybe,” and it’s a fun book to write–one filled with love and trouble, which really are the most fun books to write.
I’ve been writing it a long time now, and it misbehaves from time to time, as all books do when one is first beginning to feel one’s way inside the story. My main character, a woman named Julia, at first objected to everything about the story: she argued with me about her name, her relationships, her livelihood. You name it: she thought it should be different.
“Fine,” I told her. I don’t like to fight with characters. If they really feel strongly about something, they usually are right. It’s their story, after all. So we made some compromises, she and I, and then she settled down, but I can see that I’ll have to keep my eye on her throughout the writing of this book. She might be scrappy. Theoretically I love scrappy characters, but sometimes you have to try to reason with them and appeal to their better natures–if they have one.
The book isn’t due until February 15, which sounds like a whole lot of time from now…but truly I do know that it’s just the blink of an eye really. And there are many lovely disruptions between now and then: four grandchildren to play with, a bunch of birthdays and major American holidays, a much-anticipated family vacation in the summer with all of us together making campfires on the beach, visits from friends from far away.
But just now, sitting in a Dunkin’ Donuts, waiting while the oil change place next door flushes the radiator of my Honda, I’m thinking February 15th seems very far away indeed. It’s plenty of time to hear what Julia wants to tell me.