Somewhere along the way, I heard that writing for publication was something akin to giving birth. You sweat and toil and engage in all sorts of mental contortions to get the right words in the right order on the right page... and when you're finished, the published piece is sent off into the world, toddling on its little feet to meet the great unknown.
Having given birth to a baby, I can tell you, that the cliche has two nuggets of truth in there. One: both hurt like the dickens. Two: letting go is not particularly easy. I still find myself wondering about the course that I wrote for an on-line college last year. Did the lectures work? Are the on-line instructors okay? Do they have questions? Can I help them?
My baby, now a solid little toddler who loves bugs and rocks, gets the same treatment. Are you okay? Do you need anything? Do you understand? Can I help you?
(Since my son clings to what I call his vow of silence, save for a few key words, there are times when I feel that I'm getting about the same response from both him and the course: nothing. Of course, let it be noted pestering my son is expected, while pestering a former employer is not.)
Both children and characters, by the way, have a mind of their own. Anyone who writes regularly will tell you that. Anyone who insists that you have complete control over everything either never wrote fiction or is living on another plane of reality.
Right now, however, my eyes are on a file that's been haunting me for the last nine years. It started as your basic adventure: girl meets psychotic boy, doesn't figure it out until it's almost too late, girl meets another boy who helps save the day. It worked well until the girl, a lovely and determined protagonist of thirty, decided that she didn't want to be a damsel in distress. Then the psychotic boy wanted to be more subtle about his nuttiness. Mr. Saves-the-Day threw a wrench in to things as well. He decided that he liked the newer version of my protagonist better then the "someone please help me" original, which was a boon. But he didn't want to show up in her life until she buried her husband and started to come too close to the truth of her best friend's murder.
I'm not writing this story. They are.
Working on this story, Killing Julie, has become (once again) an obsession. I have to finish it. So I search for moments where I can squeeze in a few sentences and wait impatiently for my son to go to bed at night, then rush through the kitchen dishes so that I can steal an extra hour (which turns into two) in the evening.
Mark Twain once remarked: "Write without pay until someone offers to pay you. If nobody offers in three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for."
It's not particularly profound, but I like it anyway. It goes well with another quote, this from the 2004 day calendar, Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts: "Serve your lust."
I'm serving, people are paying, and Julie's tale is being told.
And now, I'm ending this hodge podge of thoughts. Julie's been bugging me all day anyway, apparently she decided not to faint at her husband's funeral after all. :)