Don’t you love how, when I have big news, I bury it in a blog post about something else?
We just spent around three weeks east of here. Two weeks on the farm, the family farm, the ancestral farm, the confederate-bank-notes-in-the-barn farm. Then a dabble in Baltimore, a dabble in Williamsburg, a dabble on the beach, and a lightning-fast stop in Philly to round it out. Check here if your travel is work-related; check here if personal. Check check. keep reading. I’m too chicken to say it outright.
Virginia is a beautiful state. South of the Chesapeake Bay it looks more like Louisiana than Texas. (These are my frames of reference, forgive me.) We fished in the “Little River,” a tributary of the Nottoway that exists wholly on family land, and I sat in the skiff, day after day, watching the Turtles and Great Blue Herons glide by. Every day, I felt like a page out of my mother’s favorite James Michener novel, Chesapeake, which I read three times as a child, without understanding it. keep reading, it’s further down.
I experienced the whole trip as if I were reading historical notes. Williamsburg, full of colonial costumes; Baltimore, with tall ships for OpSail, celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812; Philadelphia, with cartoon drawings of William Penn and Benjamin Franklin everywhere. Also chapters of my own history unfold with Philly and friends as the background. Everything through the parentheses of a chapter, an essay, a short story, these days. keep going, soon now.
Speaking of which, it’s time you knew…. I have been a full-time writer for the last six, seven, nine months. Around the time Sweetiepie moved into the President’s office, I moved into the home office downstairs and completely off campus. here goes…
I wrote a novel.
Now, officially three people have seen excerpts of it, and one person has the whole manuscript. You know who you are, wink wink.
It may not be any good. Pandering drivel. Pedantic, tired. Ill-researched. (My fears are audible.) I haven’t even read it yet. But now I know I can do it. I am not the one who said she was writing a book. I wrote one. It was not an agonizing, gut-wrenching, self-annihilating experience that drove me to drown my frustration with drink. It was great. Even when it wasn’t. Winston Churchill said:
Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.
I’m not at the flinging, maybe never. It needs more work, more words, more revising. My fears prove it is my tyrant. But I am in love with the process, and I want to do it again, and again. I am so serious about it that I am about to get some professional help.
I’m going to get an MFA.
I start next month.