Oh, The Places We Are At

If I were a better blogger, I would have put this picture in my last post. If I were a recreational drug user, I would lie among the columbine, trying their blossoms on as wizard hats while singing really corny Led Zeppelin songs to myself.

Heck, just looking at this flower I’m all “Away with her-er, away with her-er”.

So, sadly, my reading at the JCC got moved from tomorrow to some time in June. I was all “No, I swear, I am interesting. I don’t know why no one wants to come see me.” I’m a little bummed, but in June, it sounds like there will be lunch. And I’m all for lunch.

As for the current project, I’m kind of sick to my stomach about it in a good way. Don’t get me wrong. I still have moments of panic where I’m convinced everyone secretly hates it or that it’s not filled with enough action or that people are going to be like “Oh my god, fuck you, B., for never explaining why she’s turning into a flock of birds! I will hunt you down and uproot all your columbine!”

But I’m feeling like it’s pretty close to done. It’s about 10,000 words longer than when I had people reading drafts. I think I do a better job of making it clear why she’s not really freaked out about turning into a flock of birds and why she doesn’t get to know why she’s turning into a flock of birds. I’ve made it clearer why she would agree to go pick up the Devil’s baby and what happens at the moment she decides that he is not merely some dude who believes he’s the Devil, but is indeed actually the Devil. I let him talk a little more. He tells her the Papa Limba story, trying, I think, to get her to rethink how she thinks about divinity. And he tells her a story about an abused woman whose kids he kills, both so that it’s obvious that he really is truly dangerous and it’s clearer why she’d still be like “Oh, hello, Devil, I’m a willing dumbass for you.” I moved some of the stuff from the denouement up into the main body of the book so that the resolution focuses more directly on the trip to Illinois. And the pooping.

I’m still trying to decide about chapters. I had six. I felt like those were a little too long. Now I have twelve. But I’m kind of thinking I might want to combine a couple. And I need to go through and decide when and if “conference” is capitalized. Maybe lowercase for the organizational entity and uppercase for the annual gathering?

And I’m waiting to hear back from K. If she doesn’t like it, ugh, I don’t know. I will go live among the columbine then.

It’s funny. We were watching last week’s Criminal Minds and the killer was my age and had a kid named Damien. I was like “No.” And the Butcher was like “People my age have kids named ‘Damien’.” And I said, “Yeah, I think that six years is crucial.” I just could not believe someone my age who was supposed to be some straight-laced suburban mom with a good normal marriage, you know, TV ordinary, my age would have a kid named ‘Damien.’ Oh hell yes, I think now it’s a fine name and there’s a kind of jokey affiliation to The Omen, but…

I don’t know. I was just reminded of that typing “columbine” over and over again and meaning it as something out in the garden. It’s weird. That was this month, right? Yep, April 20th. We often go someplace no good in April, don’t we?

Anyway, it’s weird. I guess it’s not. It just strikes me as weird.

Anyway, anyway, the point was going to be that, I’m probably not that far from starting to shop the novel. And that does, indeed, make me want to throw up. But I’m kind of becoming a person who finds it less painful to do the things she wants to do that scare her than it is to be the kind of person who just wants to do things, but never does.

I know! What the fuck, right?

14 thoughts on “Oh, The Places We Are At

  1. FTR, I don’t secretly hate it. I find it very compelling and am intrigued at the thought of how the changes affect the texture.

    Out of curiosity, how many words is it, total? I was caught up in it and didn’t even note that.

  2. It was just under 61,000 when you saw it and it’s just a few words under 70,000 now.

    It is weird to get in and mess with texture, to try to make sure that your reader is both moving through the text how they need to move to understand things while also giving them room to bring their own meaning to the book.

  3. The best writing advice I ever got was to end every chapter in such a way that the reader is dying to turn the page and find out what happens next.

  4. Is there an earworm living in your columbine? Now I’m going to have to go scare my cats by doing my best Robert Plant…


  5. I’m really happy for you and your columbine success but I am totally mystified about why yours and everyone elses is going gangbusters and mine is like the columbine that rides the short bus. Seriously, it doesn’t even spread – at all. How could I possibly have screwed that up?

  6. I’m sad to say I have no advice. How long has it been there? This is my columbine’s third year. The first year it wasn’t really anything. The second year I at least had flowers. But this is the first year I feel like “Oh, so this is what the fuss is!”

  7. Mine is on it’s third or fourth year. And I had three plants to begin with and now I have one that is somewhat decent sized – small compared to yours and everyone elses – and then there is a sign of life of another – and the third one is non-existent.

    Mine have always had flowers – but it is low to the ground and the flowers are right at the leaf level.

  8. That is weird. Are they somewhat shaded? Mine like a little shade. Could your soil not be acidic enough? Mine are sitting right under a pine tree.

  9. I’m thinking that the soil maybe got too wet (or too dry…but given your weather, probably too wet) last summer. This can stunt the expansion of the clumps for a couple of years. However, you may just have a dwarf columbine on your hands…they don’t spread nearly as fast and they often are not as hardy.

  10. There are quite a few Damiens and Damians around my age – so born just after the movie came out! I guess Australian parents saw the movie and thought “Awesome!” not “His mother was a hyena”.

  11. I can’t fairly answer that, because I do believe Australians would indeed have a better sense of humor about that kind of thing than USians would. It often takes us a few years to feel like “Oh, yeah, a nice name and harmless fun!”

    But then I think that’s probably an unfair stereotype I have of Australians. I’m sure y’all have your uptight nervous folks, too.

  12. I’m here! I’m here! I’m not close to done, but I am LOOOOOOVING it.

    But I’m not close to done. And we’re leaving for Turkey on Saturday. So I don’t think I’m going to be done before we leave. Unless you really need it back before we leave, in which case I will drop everything and make it happen.

    These two weeks off everything have gone distressingly quickly. I think I need to become a kept woman — I think I’d be great at it.

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