I attempted to start re-reading the draft manuscript Saturday night, but it’s too soon… I couldn’t wrap my brain around it… it’s all too fresh, and I guess I really need to give it a little time to season; occupy myself with something else for a little while before I go through and read it all from the very beginning. It, of course, didn’t help that I was trying to read in an emergency room waiting area; surrounded on all sides by misbehaving children, coughing, crying, moaning, and all the other components associated with the ailments that bring folks to that particular place. I don’t know about other writers, but I’m a bit superstitious… and I’m superstitious because things happen to me that seem a little too out there to be easily chalked up to coincidence. I submit:
So I happily finished my novel Saturday afternoon; set down the last bits before I put the final period on the project, and our youngest daughter (our little daredevil) took a nasty fall. She misstepped while trying to get down from the upper bunk of their bunk beds (she was retrieving a stuffed animal her sister had left up there) and face planted, not only on the steps of the ladder on the way down, but on the laminate floor when she made it to the ground. She seemed fine, shaken up… rattled, even… but okay… but not okay. By dinner time we made the decision to take her to the emergency room just to have her checked out. The correlation is this: finished novel = trip to the emergency room. (She’s fine; the CAT scan showed no swelling or bleeding, and Sunday morning she was back to her old self again).
It happened when I finished the novella I wrote for NaNoWriMo, only that time it was me… We were in El Paso visiting family for Thanksgiving last year and I had just finished the novella before leaving on the trip. I broke out in a case of hives, and wound up in the emergency room, out of network no less. See why I’m superstitious?
Now I’ve heard people go on and on about how coincidence can appear to be somewhat paranormal, but c’mon… Milk and honey for the muses, man, that might solve the problem… I think I need to invent some kind of benevolent sacrifice to keep the godsmack at bay. My guess is: it’s our ironic universe trying to balance itself out after I do something to pluck a cord in the cosmic machine; that reverberation results in a weird, almost Karmic backlash… and thus I wind up in an emergency room every time I complete some kind of writing project… and it gets better… Sunday night the AC crapped out, which is not something you want to happen to you when you live in San Antonio and it’s the middle of August… it’s broiler weather out there. Monday afternoon my indestructible cell phone case broke… not a major break, mind you, but a break none the less… on something that’s supposed to be indestructible!
Okay, I realize how, “woe is me,” this all must sound, but it’s what’s happening… and I’m nervous. I keep watching the sky to make sure a satellite doesn’t land on the roof… or my head, for that matter; but that also means the I have to scan the streets to make sure I’m not about to get hit by a bus… or mauled by feral dogs… or attacked by some creeper hopped up on bath salts… You get the picture.
…but I wrote a novel; and if that sounds vaguely smug or self-congratulatory, then so be it… because, holy shit: I WROTE A NOVEL. You have to understand (okay, so you don’t “have to,” but it helps) that this is something to which I have aspired since I was, I don’t know, twelve? thirteen? I can’t even count the number of false starts and abandoned projects that have mounted up over the years… how many novel ideas, that sounded great at the moment and then turned out to be utter hog shit, I’ve racked up since the urge first hit me… how many books on writing I read which for years convinced me that I still didn’t have what it takes to write an entire novel from start to finish…
Absolutely nothing may come of this novel; in fact, I’m still not 100% sold on the idea of publishing at all. The exercise, first and foremost, was to have fun with something I have always enjoyed doing… writing, and secondly to prove to myself, once and for all, that I had the balls to do it. Well I did it, and 90% of the time I had fun doing it (the other 10% of the time I was having some kind of emotional meltdown related to the undertaking… but I think I mentioned before that someone assured me this meant I was doing it right…), and I’m itching to do it again. I already started outlining the next novel in the trilogy, and I started working on a concept for a stand-alone middle grade novel I want to write… I also have that raw draft novella I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2011 that I can polish and make more robust at any time I choose.
Thus: if the universe wants to smack me around for upsetting the balance in my (to me) small and insignificant way, so be it… Universe: set your sights on me though, and keep your fucking hands off my kids, you bastard!