Thursday, September 17, 2009

On Mayhem: The Women

The Women are clamoring.

The Women are what I'm calling the three main characters of this... (sigh)... novel idea that slammed into me while on vacation in Myrtle Beach three weeks ago. And I say slammed because that's exactly - in a metaphorical way - what happened to me: The Dude and I were walking along the beach, as we did every morning, and as if a wave had blindsided me these voices crashed over me, these three women, talking and talking and talking. Instantly I knew their stories, large chunks of their backstories, their immediate issues and how they all fit together. And they haven't shut up since.

Draper became a bit annoyed, not at our frequent pauses while walking but because I was scribbling madly in my little blue book instead of looking at the sandy shells in his palm, of his kicked-up spray, of his own pause to study the edge of the world and how I should be in awe of him.

But I couldn't write fast enough, or often enough, and meanwhile entire conversations between the characters, including a tough but kind mother and an unwelcome four year-old little boy, were playing out in my head as we swam, as I showered and rested. While Mom and Draper played in the surf and the sky gathered clouds above us I huddled on my towel and wrote long, detailed notes and shorter, spasmodic ones in the stolen moments when I tried to read.

Since we returned home and the smell of saltwater and the grit of sand along my legs are not immediate The Women have quietened some but they are still here. I can't even get dressed in the morning without entire conversations and situations playing out inside my head. I feel possessed, and I haven't felt like this (as a writer) in a very long time, and I'm terrified it's going to dissipate.

So, I'm jumping in feet first. Never in my adult life have I had any inkling of interest to write a novel, but these broads won't leave me alone. I'm moving from the (somewhat cowardly but interesting and helpful) taking-notes stage and wade into actual writing scenes, craft some dialogue. I'm both excited and nervous about where it - and they - are going to take me.

As a matter of fact, it may be better if I don't wade in... for me, it'd be best if I just squinch closed my eyes, hold my nose, and jump.

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