I'm in love. Hopelessly, desperately in love. His name is George and he's tall -- taller than most -- kind beyond words, reserved in the most cordial way possible, and all alone in the world (save for his sickly mother). He's the protagonist in my new novel and like any new lover, I'm eager to learn all there is to know about him.
To be honest, I was a little afraid to wade in again, afraid I wouldn't be as connected to my next character as I was/am to Clara from TETHERED. My first love. But this second blush is perhaps more enticing than my courting of Clara. Now I know what lays ahead: the world building, the discovery of each character's quirks, the desperate need to protect them from the world's ugliness. I am a more experienced lover.
The first time around introduced me to the learning curve. The stumbling along when it came to plotting their lives, clumsily braiding various threads, dense to the metaphors my subconscious typed on the page. Now I understand what must be done and, more important, how to do it. Today at least.
I know the beginning, so many of the scenes in-between, and, like TETHERED, I know the last scene, the very last line. It thrills me to have this assurance.
This is what it is to be a writer. To find myself enmeshed in a fictious life. To be wholly besotted by that world. Overcome. Blessedly overwhelmed. No other aspect of the writer's life compares to the actual writing. Finding the rhythm of the sentences, being transported out of myself, the rush when the words burst forth. Oh, the ecstasy of staggering away with one good page completed!
It's also a comfort to know it won't always be easy. We will tussle, George and I. There will be days when I'll find him distant, aloof. Many months will be spent wondering if the commitment is there to see us through. He will disappointment me and I him. Petulant hours will be followed by angst-filled weeks. I'll second-guess everything. Is there anything worse than doubt?
But then the hope will return, the passion. Then...the words. Ah, new love.
By the way, if you happen to run into Ian McEwan, please tell him he's breaking my heart.
I'm now reading ATONEMENT (no, please don't give it away, everyone wants to discuss the ending). If you haven't already bought your copy, you must. This is one of the few times I've found myself tensed, my heart pounding from reading a book. That first chapter -- young, dramatic Briony -- it were as if Mr. McEwan spied on my childhood thoughts and took notes. How does he know what it is to be a girl? I've never been one to highlight or underline text (sacrilege!) but I was tempted with this:
"Another mole, the size of a farthling on her thigh and something purplish on her calf -- a strawberry mark, a scar. Not blemishes. Adornments."
Chills. Yes, he's breaking my heart and not just because I've fallen a bit in love with him too (the man understands women and that is devastatingly irresistable). He is very nearly a perfect writer.