Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I am feeling some anxiety this morning.  Yesterday I reread the first nine chapters of my just-finished novel and updated the electronic version with the changes.  After my negative attitude yesterday morning, I felt much more enthusiastic about writing. I waved the freshly printed, newly perfected chapters at my husband and teenage daughter.  They smiled and once again passed on reading it now.  Seriously?  Again?  Even after hearing how much I whined when no one was all that excited about the last three chapters on Saturday?

My middle son asked if I could read it to him at bedtime - fair enough, it's not really an easy read for a fourth grader.  Instead, I chose a chapter from the children's story I finished in December - that I thought was rather perfect except for that darned timeline I can't seem to get right.  I read it and found details I want to change, lines I want to polish. 

So this morning, in addition to wanting to read and edit the middle section of my adult novel, I really want to fix up the children's story.  The stories are clipped together in pieces on my desk.  The mess on my desk freaked me out.  So I decided to work on something entirely different - a long short story I wrote in the Spring.  I found it on a backup of my old laptop.  I noticed the main character - who is similar to me but isn't me exactly - has the same name as the character in my novel.  I also found two chapters of a second story (also with the same character names) in that directory - the story was written, but I unfortunately lost two of the chapters that I wrote in a notebook.  The thought occurred to me to take the time this morning to rewrite the missing chapters.

My computer files are organized, but my desk is now even more of a mess. 

Just now, panic set in over the names (worse than the anxiety over the mess).  I can't think of another name for the main character in the other two stories.  I know I don't have to decide at this moment on new names but am completely paralyzed by it.  J.D. Salinger comes to mind - and I know I am not on his level at all - I was a devout follower in my teens and twenties and literally cried like a baby in front of my kids when I heard on the news that he died.  It was a personal loss for me.  I read every word he wrote multiple times, even the several lesser known books and short stories that all had the same characters' names.  The problem with that was I assumed that those characters that pervaded his lesser known works were really personal to him, that they were his family.  My characters aren't all that pretty - I don't want people assuming my characters are real - that they are my mother or sister or my kids.  They aren't.  Maybe a sprinkle - there's no way to not sprinkle bits of people onto your characters.

Now that I have printed off stories to edit and have yet more paper on my desk, I am doomed to organize and clean today instead of writing.  I have less than two hours before I need to pick up my toddler from his little morning school.  I have a mild headache.  I don't want to declare this morning a waste - if nothing else, maybe I will end up with a clean desk.

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