Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 7th

I have a Notebook and I lurve my Notebook.

Keith and I wrote it off as a moving expense, knowing that it would save my sanity and probably our marriage. This because tomorrow the TV and beds go, along with all the boxes that stand, towering, in hallways and rooms right now.

That would leave just the one laptop between us; the only source of Internet, entertainment and escape in an otherwise empty house.

Not good.

So now, I have this little thing all to myself. The best thing is that when I plug the earphones in, I am enveloped completely in my own little world. Not that I necessarily needs props to do that, of course. But it does help.

Guess what? We can't even move down to Georgia until Tuesday. I wasn't clued into that, before. (Denial is such a pleasant river before it runs dry.) So...that's, what? Five days of air mattresses, no microwaves and definitely the laundromat before we can even haul our stuff down South and begin to look again for a house.

It could be worse. We could be living under those conditions because of a tornado or flood, or something. I'm a woman with a Notebook, Pandora and headphones, complaining about the lack of cooking utensils and chairs. I think I'll survive.

So. My story is now two hundred and forty pages long.

Holy cow. Never have I come close to writing anything of that length before. It's so long that it stretches out into shadow, even in my mind, where I can unroll it swiftly, spinning through scene after scene.

This worries me. It takes me two days to read through the thing now, and I haven't done it in a while. What if I'm losing the cohesive feel of the story?

And my characters are evolving. I know they're suppose to; I know that that's good writing. But it worries me. What if I forget who they really are? What if, at the end of the adventure, they're completely different people?

Actually, it's too late for that, they already are. And it's not just the external challenges- they're rubbing off on one another. Every time they argue and make up, it alters their relationship. They are permanently changing one another.

I just want the changes to be organic, to be real.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm worried about losing control of the story, because of its sheer length. It's almost ninety thousand words now.

You know what's crazy? I'm already thinking about my next story. I have the first few chapters sketched out in my head. I see interesting people on the street, as I drive by and I think, hey, I'd like to write about that person. That would a good story. I'd like to live in their shoes for a while.


I began to walk with them. There was nothing else for me to do. Nobody looked at me. The sun was very hot on my head. I could smell manure, and hot leather. All around me were men at arms, wearing sturdy, serviceable blue armor, heavy packs on their backs. They looked at me, and then looked away quickly before I could catch their eye. Not that I wanted to.

I got angrier as I walked along, as it sunk in. How dare he treat me like this? It was as though I were his vassal, his possession. It was unforgivable.

For a little while, the anger kept me from realizing the extent to which I was dependent upon him. As the day wore on and my legs began to ache, I couldn’t avoid thinking about it. I was completely dependent upon him. I had no other recourse but him.

If he chose to treat me like this, I couldn’t say, fine, be an ass, and then go slam my car door and drive home listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan on the radio, very loudly. I couldn’t call up my friend and complain about him. I could do nothing but trudge along in the road, dangling after him like some kind of broken down kite whose string he held. The knowledge was frightening and humiliating.

The gravel road was very hard on my feet; I’d been wearing my flats. I cut through the lines of men and began walking along the edge of the road, in the grass. It was noon and the sun was shining straight down through the trees that laced over the road.

I thought, if he comes back for me, I’ll going to tell him to go to hell. I understood that I must have hurt his pride terribly, by questioning his strength in public. I wished, now that I saw it that way, that I hadn’t done it. But it couldn’t excuse the way he was treating me now.

The day wore on. I kept expecting at any moment to see his horse appear in the haze ahead of me, coming down the side of the road, his eyes searching the ranks of the men, his face apologetic, pale. But he never appeared. I stopped looking up as much, as the afternoon grew long.

I had fallen back, all the way to the end of the line, by the time they finally stopped. I dropped down, right where I was, right into the grass. I was crying from the humiliation and the anger. I didn’t want anyone to know, I kept putting my hand up to my face, to hide it.

Up ahead of me, men were heading into the fields, talking, and laughing. After a while I smelled wood smoke. My head was pounding with pain, from lack of water and the glare of the sun all day long.

After a while I heard the sound of hooves on the gravel and looked up with dread to see Ceallach. I felt anger and longing. I felt incredulous. When I saw him, I wished then that he had not come, that he had left me alone all night. I wished that we could have gone on being strangers, meaning nothing to one another.