Nearly a week into the retreat, and I’m up to Chapter 77 of The Hawk, with another quilt top in the can. Now, when I left off with The Hawk, I’d written seventy-four chapters, so yeah, this is already a long story, but to have managed three chapters in three days makes me feel like maybe I’m back on the noveling train. It hasn’t been easy, let me also say. It’s been…meandering. It’s been bringing myself back into contact with a healthy cast of characters that all needed to give their two cents about the Cuban Missile Crisis. What? Well, without going on too much about it, I’d thrown that wrench into the story literally in the last paragraph I had written back in March. So several months and three chapters later, I’ve touched on all that dra-ma while reiterating a plot point that ironically I had decided to set further into the timeline, which initially gave me the guts to finally get back to writing this darn novel.
But what do I know? I’m only the author…
Thank goodness quilts aren’t so dang stubborn. They’re happy to remain as a stack of squares until I plop them near my machine, then quietly they remain in that stack until I choose the next one, placing it within the row, sewing yet another patchwork piece of myself into a collection of fabrics.
Wait, that sounds suspiciously like writing a book…
Well, it sort of is, if you forget about bobbins and thread and seam rippers. Or maybe the backspace key is a novel’s seam ripper. Or cut and paste and… And it’s funny, trying to get one’s noveling feet firmly established, when my quilting stance is fairly stable. It is nice to have my mornings centered around words, which today came along more easily than the past two mornings, if not a little more like a surprise around every single sentence. Sam and Renee can’t have kids, and while originally I plotted out they would adopt before the end of 1962, I changed my mind, thinking sometime in 1963 would be better, story-wise. It would give them something to do when Eric once again flew the coop. But now it seems that Kennedy and Khrushchev have moved adoption up within the story, jeez! Who is in charge here, me or two dead former world leaders?
Um, two dead world leaders it seems. Anyone who thinks a writer has control over their novel has no idea what’s really going on.
So now not only do I need to figure out just when Sam and Renee are going to adopt, I also question whether Lynne is going to take up quilting. Maybe she’ll just continue to bake pies, leaving the quilting to me. Which is fine; at this point, I really don’t care who adopts when and where or if they quilt or cook. What matters most is that I am doing this writing, even if half the time the plot is beyond my control.
At least a quilt knows how to behave, most of the time. And if it doesn’t, I know where my seam ripper is. And I have an extra, just in case.