Well, I finished the first draft and that is, for all intents and purposes, finished!
This happened Saturday but the damned Blog site was down so… welcome to Monday.
I'd forgotten what this feels like, this odd sensation of closing the book, quite literally. You spend so much time with these characters - five years in this case - and, suddenly, they no longer belong to you. They've served their purpose and now are to be read, not written about.
You feel as thought you lost them.
My actor friends might imagine how it feels when a show closes and the leave their character behind and then add years to the time you spent with them and add the fact that you created them yourself, lines and everything.
I'd forgotten how hard that is and I'd forgotten what inevitably follows. I refer to it as "post-partum depression" because you feel as though you gave birth… but you also feel like the baby left home the same day… I sat out on my patio Saturday night, drank a few screwdrivers, smoked a few cloves, and imagined I was sitting in the living room of Abigail Ayrnes with Abby and Nathan West and Arthur Silvada - the stars of our show.
"I never got a chance to redeem you," I said to Arthur.
"I was never meant to be redeemed," he said.
"And you," I tossed at Nathan.
"I know," he said. "I was your voice. I was the narrator. Now that the book is done, I'm surprised to find I can speak."
"Speak? You can sing if you want to." I'd given him that ability, even if he'd never used it in the book.
Abby walked over and knelt in front of me. "What about me?" she asked. "How are you going to leave me behind?"
Vampire Society is mostly about Abby. "I don't know," I answered, taking her hands. "I've known you longer than I've known Vicky. I guess, in a way, it's not cheating to be in love with you but, let's face it, you're a Rosa character."
"I am not," she huffed, standing.
I followed, still holding onto her hands. "Think about it. Short mexican girl, curly red hair."
"Rosa's hair wasn't red."
"It was when she died it. Oh, never as red as yours but she would have liked it that way. Holding on to you would be as wrong as holding on to her. I've been able to let her live her life, it's time I let you live yours."
"Sure," she sighed.
"You've got a good start. You should be fine."
And she tilted her head up to kiss me.
And Vicky shook me awake. I'd forgotten that I'd moved inside to lie on the sofa.
The book's not finished yet, I know that. In two weeks, I'll have a copy printed up - thanks, Vicky! - and I'll make my corrections and take a few things out and add a few things and, with any luck, I'll have a final draft. (After spending five years writing it, do you really expect me to go through multiple rewrites???) When all that is done, I'll be ready to start submitting it to agencies… and getting rejected…
Is it any wonder I like theater so much? You get your rejection out of the way at the beginning!
What's to come? I'm not sure. I don't think I want to work on a play; I've rediscovered writing novels and love it! A book, then. And, here too, I waffle. Should I pick up an old work that I haven't finished? Maybe, but there's this idea coming in through my peripheral vision… an old story…. a mix of several… a lonely writer… a failed marriage… the Grand Canyon… a monster storm… and the sunshine at the end…
… We'll see.