“Just finish the damned thing,” she said with the deep sigh that closes each of our conversations.
As many of you know, my first novel, Dateland, was a huge success! (OK, that’s sarcasm. If I were a better writer, I wouldn’t have to explain that to you.) That’s why it’s taken me so long to pen my sophomore (or sophomoric) effort. My first book was much too good and I fear that I can’t ever equal it. (Ummm….that’s sarcasm again.)
Here’s the real reason why I’ve waited four years to write another book. The first two years following the release of the novel were a dark period. They coincided with a nasty breakup (my fault, as everyone loves to remind me) and while I should have used my villainous energies to pound out snappy prose, I instead chose to construct a puffy protective shell around my formerly slim frame through overeating and drinking. Then, after escaping the depression, I spent the next two years watching every mind-numbing Real Housewives franchise. This, I argued, was very instructional in terms of character development in my new novel.
“Only if you plan on writing about 40-year-old women who yank on each others’ hair weaves every 10 minutes,” my girlfriend, Wendy, said.
“Oooh, good idea!” I said, jotting the idea in the notebook I carry around to record all my great ideas! I recently flipped through the notebook and saw that its pages are filled with reminders to pick up wine and snacks. There were a few notes about the new book, but most were unintelligible and probably scribbled when drunk and/or on a sugar high. There’s no other explanation for the curious notation to include a character with “gloopy hair and bad eyesight. Also, more monkeys. And at least one goat.”
After having a painful chat with my publisher this weekend, in which she suggested I simply start typing and not care whether I’m typing words or just random letters, I held a family meeting to announce my re-commitment to my novel!
I gathered Wendy and our dogs in the living room. The dogs followed expectantly because this usually means that we will be watching the Real Housewives and eating cheese-based snacks.
“I’m staring my book!” I said importantly. “I will need total silence for at least two hours a day while I write.”
The dogs looked impressed, but Wendy rolled her eyes. “This is just an excuse for you to lock yourself away and watch Real Housewife clips on YouTube, isn’t it?”
I immediately pulled out my ideas notepad. “I hadn’t thought of that! I’ll just jot that down.” And then I excused myself to my office to start typing. No actual words were produced but I filled 20 pages with letters and symbols. It feels great to be writing again!
Watch for my new novel in 6 months….or maybe never.