Blinky has seemed to forgiven me for ignoring her this past month and climbed into bed with me last night. Despite my attempts to pass out early I found myself writing some more, going back through and deleting some scenes that I wished I had never written, rethought the idea of the gun, figured out that Ivy was my brain's reincarnation of my old college friend Maria Guerriero, decided I'd like to go back to visit Boston someday even though I know the moment I set foot in the North End my brain would explode into tiny little pieces that would scatter and stick to the old brick buildings of my former neighborhood. Such a quaint life I lived there, it seems so long ago that I can almost trick myself into thinking that that life was someone else's, not my own, not mine, never happened to me.
The novel has so much New England in it, bits and pieces pulled from my memory. It's odd to go back and read my writing and recognize that I am not Laura and that it took a month to give her some substance, it took a month for the story to gain some real momentum, it took a month to figure out what this story is really about. It's not about the gun, it's not about eating disorders or coming out of the closet or a disinterested father who wants nothing to do with you. It's about relationships and how you actually build a life and fill it with people. She started out by herself. 120 pages later there are two people she had decided to let in and in the future (as I had written some future scenes) there is a third that comes along as well.
Without too much premeditated thought, this all goes back to what I was thinking about in October and something Josh said back when he returned to SF in February.
"Your family you're stuck with. You had no choice in the matter. Your friends though, you choose those. And if you choose wisely, those friends are family in ways your family can never be your family."
I'm lucky enough to have a gigantic family that I know if I was drowning in the ocean there would be over 15 Inaldos/Suarezs/Ferrers in the water to fish me out.
But what if you don't have that? And your idea of family is really just nothing but an idea and you've resigned yourself to figure shit out on your own for the rest of your life? Except you realize that you don't want to do it by yourself for forever?
That's what the book is about.
I've never been able to articulate what the story is until now, 51,345 words later.
I feel like that's more of an accomplishment then actually making my word count. It made me uncomfortable talking about the novel since I had no idea what I was doing and what it was about until I went back and read it. When I write, it just comes out of me and I'm not really conscious of the big picture until I get close to the end.
About 15,000 words or so are useless and will probably be cut in the next couple of weeks. I want to keep working at it, fleshing out parts, deleting parts, changing things now that I know what the heart of the story is.
In the meantime though, rest, satsumas and hot liquids to get me through this winter head cold. Oh, and Michael Pollan. For good measure. My brain has been asking for non-fiction these past few weeks and I had been feeding it Tim Sandlin to keep my prose up to par.
Oh, and lots of Beirut, Sufjan Stevens, Fanfarlo & Bon Iver. It is the season for such music.