I haven’t been reading blogs for the past few days — I’m sorry. The project I have been “typing” (my first “novel” written in my late 20s) has turned out to be absorbing. I did not expect that. I expected it to be writing practice, typing practice, but it’s turned out to be very compelling and educational.
I don’t know what it is, though. It’s 40,000 words — not really long enough for a novel, and I don’t know if the structure, premise, idea or whatever I had originally will work at all. I’m about to print the thing out and read it. I think that will tell me something.
It’s slightly maddening NOT to be able to comment on the story, not to be able to write “And here’s how that turned out” especially as the protagonista’s main drive in life is to escape Denver and see the world. I cannot write, “And then I went to China” because that was three years down the road. And I cannot write, “You’ll leave Denver, sweet-cheeks, and 30 years later, when you want to go back, you’ll find it gone. You will have learned what Shakespeare meant by ‘time’s fell hand’.”
It’s been interesting to think about young life’s dreams, too. Everyone in the story is around 30 – the protagonista is 27, the loves of her life are a couple of years older. They are ready to settle down, but because the protagonista got married at 19, and the marriage was a nightmare, she is in a very different emotional space than might be other women her age.
I’ve been troubled for a while over my lack of interest in writing a female protagonist. The installment of the Schneebeli saga I’ve been peripatetically working for the past year struggles to find its “hero” and I’ve resisted the possibility that the hero might be a heroine. But here in this old manuscript, I have a definite heroine and she’s contending with existential questions, mainly, “What is the point of my life? How can I make it what I want it to be? Who the fuck am I, anyway?”
She won’t find any of the answers, but she will (I know) find purposeful work that she will love. She will see some of the world, and what she will not see will find her. Love will elude her, but it seems, even at this young point in her life, she had lost faith in it even though she will keep trying.
I think the “book” might actually be worth reading — ultimately it’s the story of a young woman trying to figure things out and she does NOT choose marriage and family. I have not seen a lot of that story with a woman as the center of the action.
AnyHOO, I’ll be back reading blogs soon, I hope. And, once more I am grateful to high school English for forcing me to read a sonnet I could not then comprehend. Now I can and it makes me weep.
Sonnet 64: When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE