A little after 2 pm today, I hit, and passed, the momentous halfway point in the NaNoWriMo scramble. I logged in over 25,000 words. This whole experience has been really good for me. It is accomplishing my original goal for this blog, which was making me write every single day.
I am not a naturally disciplined person, if there is such a beast. I am the polar opposite of organized, rebellious by nature when it comes to hard and fast rules, and though I have tried to make my psyche fit into a more orderly package for over 70 years, it has been a truly dismal failure. To borrow a direct quote from the original Creative Person, it seems that "I will be who I will be."
But little by little, plugging away at it every day, I am becoming more of what I already am. I am becoming a writer. Well, no, I was already a writer. It's just that the whole NaNoWriMo experience has made me truly believe it.
It could be that The Lucy Redfish is just an exercise in the discipline of writing. It could be it goes nowhere -- most books people write go exactly nowhere, though electronic publishing has upped the odds a little bit there -- or maybe somone will actually want to read it. (I already know two people who want to read it so in some sense that is already true.) It could die aborning in some unforseen way. I could serialize it on the blog. Who knows its fate?
But I'm half-way there. I feel like breaking out the champagne! But not yet. I may have to bake up one of the Lucy's famous chicken pies tonight, just to celebrate. Those pies are my mother's pies, and their baker in the story, Alice, is based on my mother. The whole book is based on a what if. What if my mother and her sister had run off and escaped the lives they actually had and lived a whole different scenario entirely, in a different place, with different outcomes? So though two of the characters are loosely based on my family, they are not the same people and the lives they live are not the ones my mother and aunt lived. The Lucy Redfish never existed in real life, though the two of them were in the bar business for years in another locale. Alice's daughter in the book is not based on me, except that I drew heavily on my own experiences of growing up gay in an alien-feeling society as background for her childhood. A lesbian friend of mine told me she arrived at her job as a high school librarian every morning feeling like she just got off the spaceship from Mars. That pretty much describes what it's like.
So I am playing with the what ifs, but that's not all. The book has a life of its own and is telling me the story as I go. There is a lot of fantasy in it. I'm in love with the Latin American writers who fill their work with a constant blend of surreal overlap between fantasy and reality -- Love in the Time of Cholera; Like Water for Chocolate; Isabelle Allende's work -- and some of that is incorporated in the book, too. In my own perverse way,of course.
So now I am on to the second half, and it doesn't look half as scary as the first one did. And I'm no longer wondering how I can stretch the story out to fill a whole book. Maybe there's even a sequal coming, next November...
photo credit: MAJ