A Paperback Writer

I’m currently listening to that Beatles’ tune, which, ahem, inspired today’s title.  As I typed it out in the title slot, I wondered if in ten, twenty, fifty years if the term paperback will be forgotten.  Not sure why that popped into my head; right now my head’s pretty filled with ideas about The Hawk.  Well, that and the slim possibility my baseball team might squeak into a playoff spot.  Oh and the last week of preseason football, a few quilts swirling, laundry on the line, plus assorted odds and ends.  But I must admit that since I started writing again, that task has taken its usual first off the bat position, once I’ve downed some breakfast and had a shower.  Although today, I did get the clothes sorted and started before I sat to write.

If I hadn’t, laundry would just now be getting on the line.

But that wouldn’t have been so terrible; it’s another hot sunny day in Silicon Valley.  The sort of day that you’d like to be “Dancing Barefoot”, Patti Smith pouring from the speakers at the moment.  But the heat’s not why I start writing in the early morning.  That’s because I still have all my wits about me, and in writing this very long story, I need all the brain power I can harness.

Quilting doesn’t require the moxie that writing does; writing asks a person to slip from their own skin, taking on various personas, but still somehow keeping one’s own soul tethered to the mess.  Novels in this stage are a mess, but a lovely untidiness, full of creative power, even if the whole thing is a bit of a dog’s breakfast.

But a novel wouldn’t get to the theoretical paperback stage if not for this one, where plot is loose and wild, characters here and over there and five miles apart.  Where’s the setting today, whose gonna say what, and when in the heck is Eric going to start a painting with Sam Ahern as the subject?  I just remembered that last night, and scribbled it on the manuscript, which is how I’ve been keeping track of things that still need to happen.  Because now this novel is so huge that while I KNOW the important bits, the way there is murky, but only because I don’t know it yet.

A novel, regardless of the length, is a journey.  A long novel is, well, a long trek upon a landscape where the writer can’t see much other than the great big skyscrapers in the distance.  So as I go be-bopping along, I remember bits here and there, and I type them at the beginning of the next chapter.  Today’s work started off looking like this:

Chapter 86  Seth and Laurie…  And when does Eric start to paint Sam?

Well, as these things go, the whole chapter was from Laurie’s POV, as he sat across from his cousin Seth.  The reader learned much about the Abrams and Gordon clans in today’s installment, so tomorrow I’ll write about Eric and Sam.  The other thing about writing a big fat novel is balancing all the varied story lines.  Eric and Sam are more important characters than Laurie and Seth, but everyone needs their moment in the sun.

Meanwhile the tunes keep rolling; Yo La Tengo’s “From A Motel 6 #2” crunches its guitar-like way out of my computer’s speakers, as I let the morning’s happenings wind out of my soul.  That was the gist today, as Laurie had to let go of a man he loves, while recovering the soul of the love of his life.  Faith is at the core of this book, but it’s not only Christian.  Laurie’s Jewish, while his lover Stanford has no inkling toward religion of any kind.  Stanford doesn’t even wish to consider something so ethereal, but that’s Stan’s problem at the moment, the status of his soul.  And let me tell you, it’s a lot for this author to mull over, even early in the morning when I still have all the words.

I don’t write at night; by then I’ve used up all the good words.

Nighttime is for baseball, unless it’s a day game, like today (2-1 Giants over the Rockies in the bottom of the third).  Nighttime is also for hand-sewing quilt bindings, which I did last night as the Giants played well against a divisional foe.  I feel like the Giants are flirting with me right now, well, they’re batting their eyelashes at all of us fans, enticing us to watch, because they *might* earn a playoff spot.  I’m a sucker for a good story, so I watch, and while I couldn’t stay up for the end, because I was up so early that morning writing this darn novel, I was rewarded for my faithfulness by a 4-2 walk-off victory courtesy of Buster Posey’s two-run homer.  Maybe that win spurred on my 4K-plus chapter today, maybe.  Maybe “For The Moments I Feel Faint”, I dig not through Relient K, but my own belief, that no matter what, if the words are supposed to be written, they’ll be written.

By hook and by crook and a song or three, the words will come.

Quilts are made in the same manner, laundry is hung by a similar mantra.  It’s a Git ‘er done sort of thing, bless my dad’s heart.  If he can undergo nine grueling rounds of Taxotere and goodness knows what’s next, I can sit at this machine and figure out something to say.

And tomorrow morning, God willing, I’ll sit down and do it again.

2 thoughts on “A Paperback Writer

  1. laura bruno lilly

    Love the fab 4…I had the 45 to “Paperback Writer”…but my fav was the flip side, “Rain” 😉

    Giants winning over Rockies isn’t that big a deal, don’t ya know? But anything to crow about, eh?

    Here’s to our own ‘git’r done’ mandates. I salute your Dad: here-here!


    1. Anna Scott Graham Post author

      The red and blue Beatles albums were my first introduction to the Fab 4; funny how some groups never lose their luster.

      I felt bad it was your Rockies, but hey, all’s fair in love and baseball. 😉



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