It's been a strange few days filled with sickness, and thus misery, which persists still. And yet, I continue to write because obsessions have a way of taking priority--especially now as I'm on the verge of finishing the first draft of my second novel. I'm at that point where the writing project becomes all consuming, invading all my thoughts, dreams, and just about every conversation. For example, here's a snippet from a recent conversation:
My mom: Carol, honey, pardon the interruption; I know you're working, but--
Carol: Not a problem, Mom. You'll never believe what just happened!
My mom: Oh? Well, let me just tell you first that--
Carol: It was hilarious, Mom. I had Anthony in the bathroom, right? And he's looking around, making sure no one's watching, and then--
My mom: Carol, who's Anthony?
Carol: Oh, Mom...you know. Anthony! From my book?
My mom: Oh, I--
Carol: Anyway, he waves Scarlett into the men's bathroom, and....
It's terrible, isn't it? Fact is, if you're not calling to discuss my book, well, we'll be discussing it anyway. Not because I don't value what you have to say, but I have book-baby on the brain. I don't mean it to be this way. It just...is what it is. Indeed, I just picked up my daughter from school, and the entire ride home, I explained to her this really cool plot twist that just sort of appeared out of nowhere.
Me: "I'm telling you, hon, I never would have come up with it had I outlined the story. Isn't that great?" [glancing into rearview mirror]
My daughter: [Looks up from her Teen Vogue magazine] "Yeah, yeah. Really, mom. Great."
Oh, we writers...so hungry to have someone else love our work as much as we do. It's very much like having a baby, no? When my oldest was born--before the digital camera--I used to get doubles on every photograph I took of my little one to send copies to everyone I knew. I envisioned them plastering their refrigerators and walls and maybe even their ceilings with photos of my baby.
And yet, I wonder...am I the only one who responds to a question of, "How are you?" with "My book is fabulous!"? I'm fairly certain that every other conversation I have usually transforms into a monologue about my latest chapter. Oddly though, while I'll talk your ear off about my book, my palms go into sweat overload when it comes time to let anyone actually read it. Bizzare.
But it's more than just about sharing your work, isn't it? It's about sharing your enthusiasm, your passion for something that you believe in. And until that first rejection comes, you truly do believe in your work. You laugh at your own wit and cry at the misery of your characters--in essence, you marvel at your own skills. But that's not such a bad thing, is it? To feel blessed by a gift? To enjoy it enough that you want to share?
Anyway, I'd love to hear your comments on this. Drop me a line...or better yet, give me a call. I know you want to now.