I’m sharing one of my favorite childhood books with my four year old son right now. It’s been kind of a special surprise, being able to do so, because I didn’t think he was ready to be interested, quiet or focused for long enough to read a book like this. But he saw me reading a book last night (my most recent, and the first book I’ve read in paper in a while — “Those Who Save Us” by Jenna Blum), and asked if it was a “chapter book.” I hadn’t heard that term in a while, except for at the Writers Digest conference I attended in January, but pressed him a bit about where he’d heard it. I guess they are reading “chapter books” at preschool. I’m impressed (yay! Montessori education for preschool!) He asked if we could start reading “chapter books” at home and was disappointed that I didn’t have a boy book all ready to go.
What I did have was a book that I loved, with an inscription from my Aunt Virginia, reading “Merry Christmas, 1980.” I was eight years old when I read this book, y’all. Crazy. And I signed my name in it and gave it an A+!
So we started “The Way to Windra” by Patricia Goehner Baehr last night. And so far, so good. I never expected my crazy 4.5 year old son to be able to settle down and listen to a story… but it’s happening. Weirder yet, the 2 year old is quiet while I read.
Man, I love books. How cool to get to share my love already with my little guys.
I have revised the first draft of my YA novel “Caged” so that now I have a second draft. That’s the point, right? But the second draft looks NOTHING like the first. (And I’ve learned the VERY hard way that I will never again let anyone read a first draft of ANYTHING). So I almost feel like I have a new first draft. Except that it’s number two. So that counts for something, right? As directed by numerous writing authorities (who dictate how things might be done if, like me, you sometimes want to follow some rules — even if you know they’re arbitrary and made to be broken), I have put the manuscript aside where it will remain for a while before I look at it again. But knowing it’s there…waiting for me… with a pile of work that needs doing on it… makes me somewhat nervous. And I’ve been a raging bitch for the last week, and wonder if maybe this is why. Because I feel this work towering over me.
Strange that I enjoy the entire process of writing so much and at the same time dread it. Am I alone in that? I relish the act of DOING it. And I like HAVING DONE it. But when it’s out there TO BE DONE it kind of stresses me out.
I generally get up at 4:30 am to write. And it’s felt weird not to do that this week, so I started getting up again, and I began writing something else. What’s strange is that when I first sat down to write a novel, I had one very specific idea in mind — the concept of the Westies in Hell’s Kitchen in the 1980’s. And a story that formed around that seed. But when I began writing, a YA paranormal novel came out. Complete with ghosts and time travel. Very fun. But not what I had intended. So this week, the original idea has been coming back to life, and maybe waiting so long to get it rolling has been good, since I guess it’s been back in there in the brain somewhere, taking shape. We’ll see!
And in the meantime… “Caged” is still waiting for me. I pitched it at the Writers Digest Conference in January, and had four agents ask to see all or part of it, which has been pretty motivational. I’m still under the gun to get it shiny enough to send it before those invitations become irrelevant. My goal is April. So maybe next week, I’ll start revising.