I woke up at dawn to cloudy skies and a damp Oklahoma. My wife and had stayed late at her dad’s house to watch a weather forecaster talked us through possible weather disasters as storms blew northeast across my state. We are safe. I believe I was successful in not waking my wife as I slid out of bed and closed the bedroom door and was soon sitting back on our leather sectional with a mug of coffed in an apartment we will soon be leaving behind for our new house.
I gave my mind time to bounce around aimlessly as I sipped. This is my custom. No phone, no social media, no email, just my meandering thoughts about writing projects, work, music, and days ahead. Now I am sitting in my office listening to a Bread album on my new record player–my new special item…my precious?
I’ve recently become aware that throughout my life, I’ve nearly always had a special object never far from me or my thoughts. I suppose it was a blanket in early childhood, and before the record player I’m listening to now, it was a vintage diner mug I’d bought online after seeing it in several old episodes of Dallas. I don’t know why I do this.
My musical, E-Vatar, has been on hold for a couple of months. A member of the creative team suffered a loss and needs some time, so I’ve started shifting my attention to the writing projects I had put on hold: two novels and a serial. And perhaps the serial ought to be a novel. Who is reading serials? I greatly desire to focus on one project, but I’m not sure which one.
I’d given up on one of them until last week when I found it lurking in the depths of my Google Drive. It’s a story of a seventy-year-old woman who loses her husband the night of his retirement, drastically changing her plans for the next chapter in her life. I had abandoned it because I lost confidence that anyone would read a book about an older woman written by a middle-aged man, and that even if they would, could I pull it off? So, I read the seven chapters for the first time in several years. Writers may not admit it out of humility, but we sometimes catch ourselves by surprise with our own writing. I was deeply moved by this character and her story. I’ve decided to get a second opinion. I sent it to a friend of mine who is a widow in her seventies and a retired English teacher along with two questions: does this feel authentic, and should I continue this book?
I haven’t heard back, yet, but I will, and she will likely give me objective feedback. The other two are very different. One is about a journalist sent to his childhood hometown in the South to cover the 150th birthday of the church his father once pastored. It is a mystery. I’ve written a little bit more of it than the book about the widow, but not much. I’ve also developed a complete plot for it–chapter by chapter, something I’ve never done before. This book is in the mode of a Pat Conroy novel to some degree. Then there is A Friend of the Family – read for yourself. I haven’t decided where this is going. It’s a comedy (is it?) about a funeral crasher. It might make a good novel.
It’s not easy to find time and energy to write. I admit I used to do most of my writing at work, but my jobs and responsibilities and work ethnic have outgrown that habit. Still though, I have quite a few novels sketched out and intend to write them. And one day, I’d like to write a real hit.
My cat, Luna, is ready for me to put this laptop down so she can sit on my lap as I sip a second cup, and side A of the record has long-since ended. Until next time…