on sensitive moments

So, I’m writing this novel and it’s been eight months and I have no idea what I’m doing.  It’s just like this sometimes. I go and think I’ve got some skills, I’ve written a bunch of novels already, surely there’s one more in there somewhere, but no.  There’s not.  Or maybe there is but I’m going to have to saw off my own head and dump out the contents on the floor if I want to find it.

It’s just that the story and characters keep running together like melted wax, and I wake up at night from dreams where the characters are all having sex with each other, or are eating strange meals with me, but still, I keep at it. I’m pounding out 1000ish words a day, maybe 800 or 600 NET words, you know, three steps forward two steps back, and yeah the words, they are accruing, but into what?  Compound interest?  Or a giant stinking pile of dirty laundry?

I wish I knew.

Meanwhile this happened:

I’m standing in our bathhouse with my pants around my knees, busily inserting a menstrual cup.  Note: if you are a menstruating woman who doesn’t know about these, you totally should try them out, they are awesome.  /public service announcement.  Anyway, I’m fingers-deep, doing my business, when Sophie throws open the door and catches me at it, because we have no privacy in this yurt of ours, it’s a fact.  I say, “um, you’ve caught me at a kind of sensitive moment.”  “Ah,” she says, and leaves.

Okay! So, finishing up, I head back over to the yurt (it’s two steps under an awning from the bathhouse to the yurt’s door) and throw open the door—only to find Sophie, fingers-deep in the Nutella jar.  “Um,” she says, chocolate smeared all over her mouth, “you’ve caught me at a kind of sensitive moment.”

SPIT TAKE!  These kids, they just grow a sense of humor out of thin air, poof, and thank goodness, because humor, you can’t teach that.   But you really, really need it if you are going to have any hope whatsoever at a decent life.   What would I do without my kids???

But, I keep working on the novel and maybe one day it will turn into something, the way my kids have turned into these super cool people.  That’s probably setting the bar too high.  But still, I get up early and stick my head into my computer and after an hour or two the kids wake up and try to extract me and I want to say, “you’ve caught me at a kind of sensitive moment–” but then I’m laughing too hard.

There are nearly 50,000 words now in this, Draft The Third, of my as of yet untitled ninth (NINTH) novel.  A Japanese violinist, a teen-aged girl mourning her mother, and an ex-drug dealing short-order cook, plus three ghosts, are all tangled up together in a weird game of relationship twister.  Or something.  Sounds like the start to a joke right?  A violinist, a girl, and a cook, all walk into a bar….

My goal is to finish this draft, beginning to end, by April 1.


[uplifting music here.]

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