I started writing my young adult novel this week. I was a bit frantic when I looked through my container full of journals and writing and couldn't find the notebook that held the outline of the first seven chapters. But thankfully I found it in the first place I looked, in the cave we call our closet. Whew.
So far the outlining is just plain fun. Asking as many "what if?" questions as I want to and figuring out how to get from A to B. It feels like a giant puzzle. The hard work will come later, but for now it feels like play. It's a bit like solving a mystery, too. The time I've spent writing blog posts has helped me to delete ideas when need be. I already let go of a path the book was taking in favour of a much more tension filled, plausible direction.
In preparation for working on this novel again, I read Terry Brooks' book on writing called Sometimes The Magic Works. It's one of the most realistic books about the craft of writing I've ever read. I haven't read any of his fiction but my kids are familiar with some of it.
I wish I had written down the name of the book that initially got me started outlining my novel. The author's advice was to take a book in the same genre that you are writing and dissect it chapter by chapter. Stuff like what is the ongoing dilemma and what is the chapter dilemma. I took one of my favourite children's books, The Nickel Plated Beauty by Patricia Beatty, and set to work. It is a wonderful story and it was easy to see the sequence of the book and how the author kept the story moving forward and what she did with the characters. It gave me hope that I could attempt a novel of my own.
Dearest one's CT scan came back normal. That is good news. He has a doctor's appointment next week. Hopefully they will get it figured out soon. It's been 5 months now of discomfort, pain etc. He's pretty much lost his appetite and he can't afford to lose weight. We do bear a resemblance to Jack Sprat and his wife!
This afternoon was partly spent entertaining our neighbour's young son. We got a taste of what grandparenthood might be like one day. It was rather fun. At supper time this little lad was trying to get the rice off the serving spoon and finally just stuck the whole spoon in his mouth. That did the trick. We could hardly keep from laughing. What a world of difference from the days of raising our own kids. (Sorry, kids!) Perspective. We might have learned some! When we went to pray before we ate, we held out our hands towards him. He's not used to praying before meals so he looked at our open hands and high-fived us both! We did chuckled over that. When he saw my bouquet of flowers he wanted to know if he could have some for his mom. I gladly divided it up so he could take some home to her. I thought that was pretty sweet for a 5 year old boy to think of his mom like that.
This Sunday we will host almost all of dearest one's family for coffee. One of his sisters is here visiting with her adult daughter and two grandsons. When we are all together we are close to 50 people and having one family host the rest is the easiest way for her to see them all. I'm trying to save my spoons for that gathering. One of the things I have learned, since my health issues forced me to pick and choose what I spend my energy on, is how to let go of trying to impress anyone with my housework, etc. It took having a chronic illness to stop worrying that people will measure my worth by the state of my housekeeping. This is particularly huge when it comes to dearest one's family, where none of the married women work outside the home, and they are very skilled at homemaking and hospitality. I've learned a lot from observing them over the past 25 years. I think I've learned to stop measuring my own worth by how well I keep up the housework. That's more important than what others think.
Below is the latest quote I printed out and stuck to the wall above my keyboard. I found it at Antony's blog, Coming To The Quiet. If you check out his blog you will find much food for thought.
"Your idea of me is fabricated with materials you have borrowed from other people and from yourself. What you think of me depends on what you think of yourself. Perhaps you create your idea of me out of material that you would like to eliminate from your own idea of yourself. Perhaps your idea of me is a reflection of what other people think of you. Or perhaps what you think of me is simply what you think I think of you.~ Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island