I killed my truck’s engine outside ‘Ama’s house at five-fifty a.m. It was the Monday of my second week of work, and it was way too early – at this hour you could only hear a couple cars swoop down Ocean Boulevard, and three or four seagulls winging toward the water line. But ‘Ama got up exactly at six, and so my sisters and I had to get in there before she opened her eyes. I hauled my guitar case out of the back and met Becky at the curb, blinking sleepily behind her glasses.
Sorry for the absence – the moot competition was all-consuming. The writers’ group really responded well to the first chapter, which was very gratifying. They specifically praised the voice and the main character for being real and interesting – a GIANT relief since I’ve been terrified trying to write a 1st person male narrator was an extremely bad idea, and I feel much better about plugging on with that kind of feedback from basically neutral folks. I LIKE Mike, and I like writing him.
I’m sending them the 2nd chapter this week. It was nice to dive in and patch it back together. Chapter 2 used to be Chapter 1, so it needed some continuity and exposition-trimming work. I only wish I were forced to turn stuff in every week, since it’s been so hard to keep writing this semester without it. Hopefully now that the competition is over I can use the free(er) evenings to that purpose.
I’ve rejoined the writer’s group at HLS, and against my better judgment (or perhaps right along with it), I volunteered to be one of the people who shared writing the very first week. At the moment I did that, I thought to myself, “This will be easy. I’ll just send around chapter one of the novel and get feedback. I won’t even have to write anything new.”
I didn’t remember until later that day that Chapter One isn’t finished. The original first chapter I wrote got pushed back to a different point, and I started writing a new opening that was a little more immediate, and then forgot to finish. Chapter One is currently 9 pages of really good, but incomplete stuff.
So now I HAVE to make it work, at least well enough to share, in time to email it out Monday. On one hand, yikes, and on the other, I’m glad to have this kick in the pants. I’ve already made some good edits, and I’m pleased to be back in front of the words.
I’m still here!
I was without my computer for almost 6 weeks, and when I finally got it back, it was finals. Then Christmas. You know.
But the dream, if deferred, is not dead. After a month away, I pulled out the plot outline. And didn’t like everything I saw, and so revamped. Then I looked at most of the pages I had so far and re-ordered them. There’s still a good 100 useful pages in there.
But the most important news is that I wrote a new 3 or 4 pages today, for the first time since November, so that was very major. It’s going to be slow going, but I’m back in action.
I’m throwing a tantrum. I’m throwing a tantrum. It’s my first one! Yaaaaar! I haven’t written a page since my last post. That means I missed a week for the FIRST TIME and I may just miss this one too. Law school is making this hard. STILL NOT HAVING MY COMPUTER is making this impossible. Writing 5 pages at a time without the computer is like making patches for a quilt and hiding them in drawers all around the house and never looking at two at once. IT’S NOT WORKING. I “should” be writing a seminar paper (easy, just needs face time), outlining (medium and not very interesting), and a couple other minor things. I can’t get in the Garza headspace enough.
I read writer blogs and books and they reprimand you that a writer writes every day, or in little bits where possible, and it’s just NOT WORKING for me. Too much head-switching. I need blocks of time and I can’t have them. Then I feel guilty because a “real” writer would write 1/8 of a chapter on an envelope with a tube of lip gloss and I must not want it enough. Fuck. I do. I just need three hours and a comfy chair and NOT the sight of tense law students with casebooks, and that’s basically impossible right now. I want to check in to a B&B for three days. Maybe that’s what I’ll do during the break between winter term and spring. Right now, I’m just irritated.
I have a book in me. But I’m looking at it through a pencil hole in a piece of paper and so it looks small and stupid. I’m trying to make spaghetti for 20 with a machine that squeezes out one piece of angel hair at a time.
And I need to write it, more than ever. I got the monthly update on my L.A. family and they’re doing badly in the usual ways (health, money, criminal records). This book gets at some of that. It exorcises some stuff. And it’s a generation that doesn’t get much play in literature. And whatever, I just like it.
And I don’t hate law school. It’s finally getting relevant and interesting. There’s just TOO DAMN MUCH OF IT.
YAAAR. This vacation only made me see how much MORE vacation I need. Still, I’m going to write this damn book. Just see if I don’t. Just…not today.
Post a comment, any comment.
4-and-change more pages today. Figured it was OK since last week I went one over. Still without my computer, which really sucks. Can’t wait to actually line all these random pieces up and see if it makes some kind of story.
Next week my page counts go down – 4 and 3s all the way to New Year. Looking forward to it, a little, but all in all I’d rather be plugging away on the novel than law school exams.
But it turns out they don’t let you be a lawyer without passing some exams. So I’d better get to that.