Keeping the Home Fires Burning

I make a mean biscuit, even if I say so myself, and yesterday I wasn't good for much more than making biscuits.

There comes a time, I suppose, when mental, physical and emotional energy grinds to a halt, and that day was yesterday, for me.

And, instead of push-push-pushing through a wall of non-performance (or whatever it was), I gave in to lethargy on a crisp fall day, and I... slept. And slept. And slept.

When I was finally alive again, it was 5:3opm and I found I had the house to myself. I started a fire, sat in the pink chair, looked at my novel, and decided that today wasn't the day, even though my deadline is breathing its own fire across my brow these days.

I didn't even try to write yesterday. Yesterday I recovered. From... I dunno what. Working too hard? Concentrating too much? Not enough balance? A cold coming on? Change of seasons? Inability to move forward with my story after two days of wrestling with chapter nine and going down dead-end roads?

Chapter Nine is written -- has been written for years. I know it's a solid chapter for this book -- I am having trouble connecting it to chapter eight now, because chapter eight is another new chapter, and there needs to be a transition here -- a new character has appeared, just as Dove appeared in RUBY at about this spot, and I need to figure out who he is. I have options. None of them has worked well so far. I have wearied of figuring it out. I'm not good at jumping ahead and coming back. I need to know what's going on -- at least the bones of it -- before I can move forward.

I have an overall arc for the story, and I have been following it. But when a new character appears with so much rich possibility (and a huge A-HA!), it throws a kink in the works, even as it adds a layer of meaning and heft. I have to remind myself that it was four entire revisions through RUBY before her grandfather showed up -- can you believe that? There was no grandfather until my fifth revision of RUBY, and what would that book be without a grandfather for Ruby to mourn and a secret for her to share with Melba Jane?

So maybe the introduction of this new character is whomping me over the head, maybe I need to integrate it psychologically for a day or so, in my subconscious, so I can sail on ahead. Whatever it is, I decided to take good care of myself yesterday. I slept and then I made a nourishing supper -- chicken soup, of course, and those biscuits, a winter salad, and a cold glass of milk. I worked slowly, enjoying each step. Jim stepped through the door just as I was finishing, Richard came home from work, and we ate in front of the fire, sharing our days.

I switched gears for a while yesterday. I didn't write at all, but I did watch, after supper, part one of the History Channel documentary about JFK. Fascinating! I took notes as I watched. My story takes place in fall 1962 and this documentary is a perfect accompaniment to what I'm writing about -- the Cold War, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis... and so much about JFK and Jackie and Camelot and the collective American Dream... so this was my "writing" yesterday.

Today we are tending fires again, keeping the home fires burning while the story sifts and settles, while our family sifts and settles and sifts again. Zach is moving (he'll be nearby). Richard and the puppy are waiting for Hannah to be home from Ohio (we all long for this), the story is waiting for my attention, and I am waiting to fill up a little more before moving forward again.

So. An easy day today. It's Sunday. I can already feel a tug to open that file and take a look and see how I feel about my latest forward motion in chapter nine. Something happens here that I can't see yet... and haven't captured yet. Maybe today, but certainly tomorrow.

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