If you left me a comment yesterday, I hope that you'll check there again. You gals are so much fun!
My Boston niece bought me Anne Lamott's book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life as a birthday gift. Naturally, because I enjoy muddling my head with a lot of varying thoughts and opinions, I hauled out Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and am reading them both. Actually, these two writers think a lot alike.
Even if you never hope to write more than a letter, these books are great fun...also irreverent...also trash mouthy...also brilliant. There'll be moments when you throw back your head and guffaw, moments when you'll feel inspired, and moments when you'll know for a fact that it's all beyond you. Apparently, it's all beyond both of them, too.
Lamott's description of writer's block: ...you sit staring at your blank page like a cadaver, feeling your mind congeal, feeling your talent run down your leg and into your sock.
Isn't that rich with simile and metaphor? That's writing!
Soooo, I've been commissioned to write a historical novel. Does it matter that I've been commissioned to write it by my own family? "The story must be told," my grandmother tells me emphatically. This makes me feel sorry that I'm such a deadbeat because Nan's 98 and it's unlikely that I'm going to pull this "masterpiece" together for her in time.
What is Nan so eager for me to tell? It's the story of her great-aunt Susie, an amazingly beautiful woman in her time who fell in love with John Jacob Astor (think Titanic) and he with her, if I am to believe the story. Sadly, or perhaps not, the romance didn't go quite as planned. Susie didn't meet Mr. Astor's mother's standards. Still, their romance left Aunt Susie independently wealthy at just twenty years of age.
I've spent years thinking about this...looking at Susie's letters, her journals, her photographs. I had always been told that there was a fortune somewhere (does every family have this sort of fairytale?) if one could only find it. What I found instead was that Susie died a pauper with her grand home falling down about her ears and that life's difficulties left her a self-absorbed, bitter woman. Guess life can do that if your one true love is lost and your only child...a daughter...falls off a swing, hits her head on a tree root, and dies in your arms when she is just seventeen.
I need to go watch a comedy!