This is it. I’ve just packed up everyone’s toothbrushes, snow gear, Harry Potter and Redwall books, kissed my husband and children goodbye and watched our old, green Pathfinder chug down our hill, around the corner and out of sight. Goodbye to the three people I love most in the world, hello computer.
It’s my big Chris-Hanukah gift: Jon’s taking the kids away to his dad’s in the Berkshires, leaving me two and a half totally kid-and-him free days (and two nights) to hammer away at my second novel. My goal is to finish a really, really rough draft of this book by midnight on 12/31/11. (Actually before, because I think we may have plans that night.) Right now, Unnatural (working title)—the story of a guy with dissociative identity disorder who believes one of his alter-egos killed his lover—is actually miles from done. I’ve got an outline and about two hundred fifty pages that aren’t necessarily in any kind of order (it’s told from three perspectives: the guy, one of his alters, and his shrink). But I’ve got hope, determination and a full sack of my new favorite coffee blend.
Is this doable? I don’t know. I have no frame of reference for what it’s like to try and accomplish something when school pickup isn’t looming, when you don’t have to drive people to tennis, tap-dancing and piano, when your working sessions aren’t accompanied by the drone of your own inner-mom voice whispering: you’re ignoring your family; they need you; they’ve been on the Wii for three hours! Though my belief that people without kids write whole novels in a single weekend is probably misguided, I am letting that notion fuel me. I’m at the starting point: full of hope and enthusiasm, but realistically viewing this whole thing as an experiment. I promised my husband that I won’t beat myself up if I don’t make the goal. (But I’m sure gonna try!)
So … I’ve answered all emergency emails, made a last phone call to my mom to explain why I can’t talk on the phone for a few days (except to say goodnight to the kids). As soon as I finish this post, I’ll start. Wish me luck and inspiration. I’ll let you know how it goes.