In 2008 I printed, in duplicate, what I thought a finalized draft of my novel Crazy String, which I spent over a year writing. With all my naive surety I mailed my manuscript to the multitudes, and in what seemed like an instant dream-come-true signed an exclusive contract with a NYC Fifth Ave big-shot editor. In the spirit of holiday days, I will simply state, that 18 months later, we parted ways, headed out opposite doors. Me deflated, contract not renewed, sans publisher, but multiple drafts deeper into story through blood, sweat, and tears. Life lesson 101: dreams can be fleeting.
Most of you know this is exactly how Nine Cent Girl was born: out of frustration over that process and a desire to print without the bullshit. Back then, I had no idea I’d have years worth of posts, nor did I know how many people I would reach with my Thursday night rants and revelations. Nine Cent Girl chronicles my life, from soaring highs to the lows I crawl through. As we tend to do over these last days of the year, I look back over my weekly posts and in earnest am amazed over yet another year well-spent journaling my life. I am overwhelmed with the love and support I am gifted via this little platform. Buoyed by your responses to my words. Indeed grateful.
During these years, I have also continued to pen a tangled web of complicated characters, so, I thought, this vacation week, I would comb out one manuscript that I could with certainty, finalize. You might call it a New Year’s goal, possibly a resolution, but I’m saying it’s a must-do-or-die-trying plan. Just. With my butt down, manuscripts spread out, I’m finding my way to the best version I can possibly write as sunshine pours into the room. Illuminated. Captured by a story that comes from my very core. Yeah, it’s that deep. And urgent.
I have carried this story for a decade, stuffed inside bins, drafts stacked on drafts, suggestions from a multitude of friends turned readers, taking each idea to heart, shifting scenes and perspectives and motivations, while keeping a hand on the pulse. A novel takes a big place in one’s mind. You know these characters better than your own brother. Or sister. Or son. You feel them twist when pained, or fall into love, and then out again, with clarity and precision. You write to show that life, not just tell about it. You voice their complicated truth and deceptions. You sink deep.
Yeah, writing takes all sorts of amazing captivating. But in the way only you could imagine it to be. In the way that you can see it, or hear it, as only you would be with it. As the rays sweep into your living room at mid-day and you feel your heart torn into pieces over a recent hurt or an old lingering pain, and as you envision frail hopes and dreamy dreams. That kind of real.
Without much forethought this holiday, we printed an extra manuscript and cut a hundred strips to make a paper chain, linking scenes across the living room ceiling. Crazy String, indeed. Under this inspiration, camped out on one couch and then another, I shift with the light spending each day lost in the narrative arc. Allowing my words to fly out on winged prayer. Metaphor in action.
Wish me luck my dear friends. Entering the creative is always dangerous and curvy, a hit or miss. I promise to give it my all, and let you know when I succeed. 2019 will be filled with a freshness not seen for a decade. Out with the old and in with the new, for fucking real. If not now, when? If not willing to give it everything, why not back down and turn around? This New Year, let’s really do this.