This post is coming up seriously late, 2 days late to be exact.
But it’s only because I was traveling and having fun and actually…
…doing a whole bunch of writing.
As I shared in my last post, I revisited a novel I started about six years ago, and now I’m fully immersed in it. I’ve been writing almost every day for at least two hours and at this point, I’ve written 16,808 words, and added an additional 20 pages to what I started with. This is also why my blog is late: the times I’ve sat down to write my blog, I’ve been more drawn to writing this novel. I’ve been super grateful to all the friends who’ve answered my silly questions (ex: quick: name 3 albums that came out 8 years ago), but it’s kept me going.
But damn is this difficult at times. I refuse to stop and edit what I’m writing because I know, I just know, I’ll get caught up in a terrible paragraph or a terrible sentence or even a terrible word and then I.WON’T.MOVE.FORWARD. So for now, I just write and keep going, even if it kills me that I’ve used some word multiple times in a paragraph. I can fix all that later.
There are some serious concerns I have about this whole writing a novel process:
1. When I get stuck with something, I keep thinking just “write one true sentence” (Hemingway’s advice). But then I panic: what does truth even mean? When I texted my friend Leslie in a panic about this, she responded with one word, “YOU.” So mostly, I stick to writing what I know, which means my life, which means this is slightly autobiographical, which means I’m really laying it all out there, which is totally fucking frightening.
2. A week ago, I thought I knew the exact plot this character was going to take. Now, I’m not so sure. I feel like I’m discovering her as I go, which is cool in one way and super frustrating in another because I’m pretty sure most writers have a solid sense of what’s going to happen next. Not me. But then again, I’ve never called nor considered myself a writer. Right now, I think of myself as someone who’s just practicing.
3. I will not let anyone–anyone–read a draft of this until it is done. Christine begged to read part of it, and I relented and let her read a short two-page dialogue scene. All I asked was for her to tell me if the dialogue sounded real, like how real people would talk. She read and laughed and actually gave a good suggestion to change one word, and then she sat back, smiled, and said, “I really liked it. It reminded me so much of Dawson’s Creek.”
Shoot me now.
4. I have 16,000 words written, and I’m definitely writing more than 250 words a day, but I asked my friend Jenny how long a typical novel is and she said 100,000 words. Holy shit. That’s a lot. I keep looking at all the smaller novels I have in my bookshelf and think, “Perhaps I’ll aim for a shorter novel.” But then I just kind of relax and figure when the stories finished, it’ll be finished.
I could go on with a million other things I’m worried about, but I’ll save that for other posts. But that’s basically why this post is up late: writing. But also because I was in San Francisco visiting friends and family, and we had the best time ever.
Starting with me leaving the kids with my parents so I could go see Neko Case for a free show at Stern Glen in the city. I went by myself, which is something that I actually LOVE doing. Sometimes I would much rather see a show by myself than with friends. But when I got into the venue, it was so packed that I wondered how I would ever find a place to sit.
As I walked around, I noticed that there was an area marked off right in front of the stage, an area with benches no less. I walked up to one of the volunteers working this area (more like guarding it), and asked him what this special are was reserved for.
“Seniors and disabled people,” he replied.
“Well,” I said, “I’m clearly not a senior nor disabled, but I’m by myself, I’m rather small so I won’t take up that much space, and I drove all the way here from my town by myself just to see this show.” (The last part, I admit, was a total lie.)
“Hmmmm,” he thought, “Come back in 10 minutes, and I’ll consider it.”
“10 minutes,” I said, “No problem. I’m just going to stand right over there and wait. I mean, I’m going to keep staring at you, but don’t worry. I can wait.”
“Fine,” he said exasperated (but also with a smile), “you can go in.”
Hell yeah! I had second row seats!!! Sure I was surrounded by seniors and disabled people, but I had a beer, the sun was shining (in San Francisco. Amazing.), and I was in the second row. And you know what? Seniors are rad. I had such nice conversations with them, and one lady even gave me a cold beer half-way through the show (there was no way I was going to risk losing my awesome seat by getting up to buy a beer. No way in hell).
And the Dodos were great:
But Neko Case really stole the show. I’ve seen her twice before, but this show is now my favorite. She has the most amazing voice, and she was chatty with the audience, and she was humble, and my God, just incredible.
And even though video recording was forbidden, I broke the rules and took this video of my favorite song of hers (and let’s be real, everyone around me–even the seniors!–were recording songs with their phones. I even helped some cute little old lady figure out how to record on her iPhone. Those seniors, they certainly are embracing technology).
The only thing that distracted me from Neko Case was the hot, hot, hot sound guy.
While his head is turned to the side, trust me when I say that he was beautiful and just my type and hey hot sound guy, I doubt you’ll ever read this, but if you do, find me. I’ll love you forever. I promise. Well, that’s if you’re cool as well (which in the fantasy I’ve created of us, together and happy, you are).
From the show, I got in my car and drove to meet Tasha at the bar she tends on Sundays (because it’s not enough that she works 40 hours a week as a scientist!). We drank beer, I told her about the show, and after about an hour, her shift was over, and we headed to her house.
We made a quick clothes change as the beautiful San Francisco 85 degree weather was turning back to more typical SF weather: cold and foggy. Then we drove to meet Garth and have dinner at Burma Superstar, and I can attest that not only was the company awesome, but the dinner was amazing. There’s a reason an hour wait is typical at this restaurant. The food was just.that.good.
From dinner, we wandered around the area, walking in and out of stores, eventually stopping to have coffee and dessert. We found this GREAT little bookstore and record store all in one, and spent a pretty significant amount of time just browsing.
We all had a great time, and it was so nice to see Tasha and Garth. I miss them both tremendously, and Tasha, damn Tasha, I miss her the most! I’m so thankful we had some quality time together. And I have to give big props to Garth who helped me with a portion of writing this novel by describing–in perfect detail–his old record player and stereo system. He even sent me an email of the description and I cut and pasted it into the novel, changed some wording and the tense, and pretty much used the whole thing verbatim. It’s now one of my favorite scenes.).
Sunday was a very good day.
The next day, my entire family joined up in Marin county for my cousin Nicole’s son’s birthday party. Me, my kids, my mom and day, and my sister and her family all had a great time celebrating Beckett’s 2nd birthday and meeting Nicole’s 5 week old new son, Finn. Plus, we saw more family–it was a mini family reunion–and it felt so good to be together.
It’s been a great week (plus two days), and life’s been a bit busy, but still so, so, so good.
Hopefully, posts will be up as usual on Tuesdays, and I’ll try my damn hardest, but if I’m in the middle of writing something good (or really rather shitty, but something with perhaps the potential to be good? Or kind of good? Or at least a step up from Danielle Steel or for God’s sake, better than Dawson’s Creek.), then I’m going to be late on a post or two, or maybe even skip one.
But I feel alright with that.