Thursday, September 16, 2010

a tangle of beginnings

It began as a homework assignment.

Actually it started with a distinct unhappiness about my job. I had stopped enjoying myself and wanted to do something else. Of course it was writing that reared its head in my mind.

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but never seriously pursued. I did my share of self published poetry journals and even put out a ‘zine in the early nineties, but learning the techniques and understanding the world of publishing? I wanted to exert myself as little as possible and reap maximum results.

I’ve said it before about being an addict – when you stop using, you wake up and realize that your current existence is colored by clouded judgment and things that you thought you enjoyed have nothing to do with who you really are. That’s the place I was in when I decided to write a book.

Or at least complete one. I had started many. My favorite thing to do as I came down off of the high was to sit and record the onslaught of ideas pouring from my mind into notebooks. I had tons of them. I would scribble for hours then put them away. I lost most of them in the floodwaters of Katrina, but a few survived.

When I recovered them, I began flipping through the mostly unintelligible sentences, understanding only bits and pieces of strange concepts. Living buildings that granted wishes to its residents, gardens where people grew like trees, a man who coughed up a gnome.

In the middle of all this babbling I found a story about a boy searching for his father, who discovers the truth about his mother’s death and confronts his own insecure need to be thin. I read what was on the page and put it away.

At some point I decided to start taking night classes. I chose a class in writing. It was something I was always interested in and I thought it would be a nice test to see if I had the commitment in me to complete a course.

When the first session ended, my professor gave us our homework for the following week. We had to bring in the first three pages of our novel.
But I wasn’t writing one!

And I remembered the story about the boy and his father. It started as an exercise to exorcise my own feelings about the son I had given up for adoption many years ago. The very week I sat down to work on it, he contacted me, and my reason for discussing the topic changed.

I’m still rewriting the book, but I’ve found an editor and have a number of agents I will begin querying early next year. School will be back in session by then and I plan on completing the course and getting my certificate.

I don’t know what the initial spark was that started me on this journey. And unlike a race, life doesn’t come with a clearly marked finish line. But I’m running as fast as I can, breathing hard and loving every minute.

1 comment:

  1. You're so much braver than me. I have never queried any of my work. Keep running and loving every minute of it!!

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