I am felled by milestones these days.
My boys are singing on key. They’ve always done a sort of nearly-monotonous-teetering-on-atonal thing when they sing, and I’ve assumed that would be it for the rest of their lives. As someone considers some of the best moments of her life to involve singing, their tunelessness tinged with their apathy was tough. But all of a sudden they sing on key. Beautifully, even. There is a sweetness to it because they sing to the dog all the time. That sweetness is offset when they sing popular songs and change some of the words to “fart”
I dropped one son off at his first baseball practice for one of the seven thousand teams he’s on (hello from my car, by the way. I live here now.) I walked him over to the field and he waved me off before running ahead and introducing himself to his teammates. This was the child afraid to go to his own birthday parties for many years – and he knew those kids – because he was afraid he’d be unprepared for whatever the world threw at him.
My other son never took a nap. Ever. Not as a baby. Not when he’s sick. Not when he was up all night due to sleepovers. Up at the crack of dawn every day since his birth. He now is starting to become a real challenge to get out of bed.
Not all milestones are the kind that bring wistful tears to the eye.
Last week, my littlest turned seven. That’s a big milestone and the type of gut-kick that funnily enough can only be assuaged by cake. I’m eating a lot of cake. She is passionate about piano and baseball and dogs. Some days she gets a sneak peek at what it sometimes means to be female in this world. And I unfold my dragon wings and stay close by in case I need to blow a little fireball.
I don’t know the kind of woman she will be – although I have a strong sense it will be a fierce, mighty, brilliantly sweet one – so all I can do is show her the type of woman I am, or I try to be, and give her the space to develop who she is. And, as with our sons, my husband and I strive to provide her guide rails to bounce off of so she can understand her own goodness and how much the world needs it. And also not be a jerk.
Speaking of being a jerk – This Week in Noveling:
- I’m structuring the novel and making sure I hit the important plot points at the right times in the appropriate areas. This is based on human understanding of story, our sense of pace and timing that has been established since we sat around caves sharing giant hunks of meat and telling tales around campfires.
- There are still four characters I need to flesh out and they are hiding from me right now—probably off having mimosas and sushi somewhere. I need to chase them down and get them talking.
- All those notes I wrote to myself during the first draft now are being called in. “Research this!” I wrote all over my draft. Now is the time.
- I’m performing radical surgery on parts of the story and then drafting new parts as needed. Frankenwriting. This inevitably leads to more questions – as the story gets more focused, I end up seeing giant plot holes. The editing giveth, the editing taketh away.
- Next month, I start rewriting from page one.
- I also have a few essays I’m trying to draft by end of week that are spectacularly unrelated to the novel.
Needless to say, the days are full and powered by Creme Eggs.
Please send more Creme Eggs.
3 thoughts on “Milestones — Send More Creme Eggs”
Reblogged this on Pickadilly Project.
I love your description of “radical surgery,” Jackie. I’m wondering, though, at which point you recommend doing this. I think if we don’t finish that first messy draft before surgery we may never get to The End.
I agree completely. My first messy draft is done and took a nice siesta for a few months. It’s been fun to approach it again with fresh eyes!