Yesterday, when I called Keith around eight or so in the morning, as I usually do, he did not pick up. That seemed strange, but sometimes he is busy or whatever. So I waited for him to call back. He did not. I didn't hear from him until two in the afternoon.
It turned out he had had another episode of heat stroke, the fourth this year and the second one to land him in the hospital. Once you have one, you're more susceptible to another, and so on and so forth.
But the man doesn't learn. He still thinks sheer will power will overcome the laws of nature, and so ends up flat on his back on gurney being fed fluids through an I.V. line. Various tests they took did not come out looking good.
He's at the doctor's today; a miracle in itself. Usually he never appears for the follow up visit. But I threatened him with all kinds of death and destruction if he didn't go, so he's sitting in the waiting room as I type. I have a feeling that a major change of diet is coming our way.
So, yesterday my younger brother called me for the sole reason of telling me how awesome the Ceallach story was. He said he couldn't just write it on my facebook wall, he had to tell me over the phone. I was so thrilled I could hardly string two words together.
He said he stayed up for two and a half hours the night before, reading it, and then read for another hour that morning and that his eyes hurt from the computer screen. He said that at certain points, he actually got goosebumps, that at points the dialogue between Ceallach and Phillipa made him laugh out loud and that the battle scene was epic.
He said he enjoyed how I mixed in a little Irish mythology but sort of did my own thing with it. At first, he said, he wondered if it was just going to be a love story, but no; it got totally awesome.
These were the words of my youngest brother. I had a real hard time trying to concentrate after that. My whole family are avid readers. They know good writing. He would not have called me up if he didn't actually think it was really good. Besides, his praise was too specific; it was not the damned-with-faint-praise experience that writers so dread.
He has yet to read the fourth section, which is nothing like the middle two. I'm very interested to have some feedback on that part. I have a feeling it needs major revision. It certainly doesn't have the suspense and action of the middle two; it's just Phillipa managing to put her life together in Ceallach's absence.
But anyway, after that I started thinking more and more about how it would feel if I actually do get published. I thought about how it would feel if I could see my book, all bound, with the title (whatever that will be) in the front and my name, and all my words printed out neatly inside on the pages; reams and reams of my own words, poured out and captured.
I kind of want to be a slightly obscure author. I want my thick, paperback books to be sort of floating around, at garage sales and in summer cabins. And unlikely people will pick them up out of boredom and be suddenly entranced and transported. I want it to feel as though my book were speaking just to them, as though it had been sort of lying in wait for them.
Between worrying about Keith and elation over my feedback, I didn't settle into really writing until later in the afternoon. I've been crawling along fairly slowly at this part, which shouldn't be happening, because it's just the first part of their journey and it should just be flowing.
But I was stuck, and that usually means one of three things:
I'm going in the wrong direction, thematically, or with character development or because I mismanaged a transition.
I have to go back and fix something in the first part of the story that I've been putting off.
I need to stop and hammer out more plot so I have a better idea of where I'm going.
It happened to be the middle one. I've been putting off adding in the nastier parts of the story, not without reason, naturally. So I spent yesterday afternoon adding in the sickness and dark to the story.
I have a feeling that's the way this story will progress: I'll write it out describing the good and then go back and layer in the bad. It's easier that way.