One of the strangest yet very satisfying parts of writing is finding The End. Now, let’s not get too far ahead of the tale; I haven’t completed The Hawk. But just this morning, I finished Part 11. Getting this section wrapped up wasn’t on my agenda, let me add. In fact, while I had hoped to wrap it up, lovely interruptions drew my attention away from plot and characters. We’re leaving on holiday next week, and I’d already decided to take along what I had managed, reading it over to refresh myself for our return. However, that won’t be altogether necessary. Part 11 is in the can!
I want to share this mostly to highlight the unpredictable nature of creativity. Regardless of our best efforts to schedule this or that element of the process, often the process sits outside of our control. Case in point; halfway through today’s chapter, I had the sneaky sense this was going to be the last chapter of this section. It was the way Eric…. Well, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but he was acting so, so, so…. So let’s wrap this up huh, because there’s laundry to do and lists to make and a Burrito arriving tomorrow and who needs to be slaving away, writing a novel? I’m smart enough to listen to my characters, but as I ended that scene, only twelve hundred words accounted for, I asked Eric, “So where’s the rest of this chapter going huh?”
Eric Snyder smiled at me, then said, “Talk to my pastor. Marek will fill you in.”
And this is how my books are written; being very sensitive to one’s writing impetus as well as the story being told. Literally, I had no idea where the second half of Chapter 218 was going. My eldest called, asking how my day was, and I told her straight out; “I think I’m ending this part today, but I have no idea how.” She laughed, posing a similar query; Little Miss is transitioning from two naps a day to one, and how to plan one’s schedule when nap time is erratic? After she closed the call, I sat back at my computer, reading over what had been written. I still didn’t know what was coming, but after nearly three years with this saga, I realized it’s not about me.
My friend Laura Bruno Lilly noted recently how my journey with The Hawk has been parallel to my father’s ill health and subsequent death. That perhaps the extreme length of this book is essential as I travel along a post-Dad landscape. It’s applicable; I began this novel right before my father made the decision to begin chemotherapy. That led to a fierce year-long battle which culminated in his death in the spring of 2015. But even though I knew my father was heading to a better place, it’s a totally different experience living without him. And just maybe a hawk was sent to guide me safely through that wilderness.
But now it’s August 2016; while I’m still pinning some hopes to complete this tale by the end of this year, if not, it won’t be too much into 2017. By then The Burrito will be almost two years old, Little Miss well over eighteen months. Grandmaster Z will already be an official toddler, and as for this abuela? I’ll be very ready to start my next story, let me just say. But I don’t want to get too far ahead of where I am at this moment, which is still happily aghast at how the last chapter of this section practically wrote itself and Laura’s astute observation of why this book has been written as it has. Work from the heart cannot be shoehorned into a convenient time slot, although occasionally that’s how it occurs. That’s where Grace steps in, and oh man, Grace can just do all it pleases. Writing by Grace is just as important as living by Grace.
Acknowledging Grace matters too. Now it’s time for a walk, a trip to the grocery store, and to take clothes off the line. I’ll return to The Hawk in all due time….