"So what?” you may well ask. For starters, I'm a better writer. Plus, I've finished my first novel, "Hummingbird" starring PI McElroy (yay!). The third edit of which was critiqued by my distinguished professor at Iowa Writers Workshop, who said that even after a solid two weeks of reading manuscripts that mine made him laugh so hard he spit milk out his nose. I went home with great expectations.
AND THEN: Three weeks after I got home my mother died. After a long battle with stroke induced dementia that robbed her of everything but her will to live she finally surrendered. She just didn't want to go. I can only hope she was living a vibrant and entertaining life in her mind for those last few years. Writing about it makes my heart bleed still. Guess it would be worse if it didn't.
As a result "Hummingbird" slept in a drawer for a year while I worked on other projects and experienced monumental grief. Along the way, I'd convinced myself that the book suffered from unresolvable plot holes that no one else seemed to notice but to me were gaping chasms in an otherwise decent story.
I started a second McElroy book as a diversion. Stalked by guilt over relegating my first child to a dungeon, I despaired that “Hummingbird” would suffer the same fate as the two screenplays sharing her bed. Almost finished, but in need of repair, I’d grown to hate them as vile representatives of failure. But I didn’t want to hate her. She was complete, if flawed, and what manuscript is not?
I prayed for Divine Intervention: “What the fuck, God?”
SAVED: A motley crew of fellow writers had formed a novel editing group and invited me in, say what? They seemed to think my work had merit, Pttttpht to that, but I joined anyway. Throwing my baby onto the examining table to be poked, prodded and cajoled by a band of cut throats (don’t mean it, hugs and kisses, me).
And Lo! The first major crevasse was solved by letting Lenny the Leper live (Thank Jehoshaphat for that. He lives to reek* another day) and by the addition of a severed finger bearing a large and unusual jeweled ring.
Now having completed the 4th edit, slog, slog, it's pretty damned good and won't get much better until a book editor sinks his or her talons into it, Lord give me the strength. I'm 10 chapters into my second McElroy novel "Junebug" which you may or may not be lucky enough to read depending on my mood. Okay, probably. If there is arm twisting involved.
So anyway, this photo is a selfie of me in Paris just a week ago where I roamed the cobblestone streets alone and loving it. Except for my poor legs that got worked over by my massage therapist yesterday, each knead accompanied by blood curdling screams. Small price to pay for such bliss.
*Yes, I do mean 'reek' as in smells bad, not 'wreak' as in havoc. You'll have to read the book to find out why.