D: What is this, A? Why am I in a box? Is this your idea of a joke – mad man in a box? I find your Dr. Who references to be very inappropriate. . . . A? A, where are you?
A: It’s just for a moment, D. I need to get something off my chest. I need to explain why I took to the blogosphere to exorcise – I mean celebrate – our wonderful relationship.
D: A? I don’t think I like where this is going, A.
A: Tough, Druid. Buck it up.
D: . . .
A: D is a figment of the imagination. I know this. The only problem: it’s not my imagination.
I gave him a place to play, yes. I’ve encouraged his growth, gave flourish to his ego, and even (gasp) appreciated his finer points and smoothed some of his rough edges. But he is not mine.
D was given to me over 13 years ago. The Irishman who would one day have the distinction of becoming my ex-husband read my book and said, “Sure, it’s great. (Liar.) But I see someone else in it.” He told me about D. He was a blond then, a Celt and a Druid. His eyes were still blue but he was actually far more taciturn and far more forbidding. He couldn’t stay in my head for 13 years and stay that way, though.
Hearing his description of D, I agreed. He had a place in the story and I went about writing it in. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t great, and I couldn’t read it without cringing in places. The story didn’t sit well with me, so I went to write another one.
It wasn’t until I was half-way through the outline that I realized that D had a place there, too; it was the tale of his beginning. I knew too that if this was his beginning, then he had his own story to tell, and lucky me, I was the one to tell it.
There was a problem, however: I didn’t like him much.
Worse than that. I couldn’t see him.
I’m a visual person. I watch a movie in my head when I read and I’m fascinated by the visual interpretations of books on screen, even if they are often semi-comic/tragic interpretations. For me not to be able to see D was a big problem. His story is actually one I enjoy (even if he drives me crazy), and I felt like I let him and the story down.
Then, life got in my way. Not only that, but the world changed.
Facebook, twitter, ebooks – it exploded!
I had a website – 3 actually – back in the Angelfire days. One, as I mentioned in our “award” dialogue, was connected to NBC for a brief time. I chatted with Irish, Scots and Basque Nationalists and will never look at the Blue Bunny the same way again.
There are many similarities between that world and our own, but when you’ve been gone – working, raising a child, paying too much attention to the mundane details of life – getting back in the game is daunting.
But I knew I had to do it. I now work at a magazine publishing house. I know how this goes. I know I need to make myself marketable. But I’ve struggled with how. For over a year I’ve been exploring my own brain (scary place) and wondering just how to market myself when asking an avid train enthusiast to buy the latest “Railroad Maps” special issue makes me cringe.
How can I do that when the foundation for my books ticks me off and remains elusive?
So, ten years passed without a word written. Rather, I wrote, but on conservation subdivisions, water gardens and the economics of land conservation. I blocked D off. I ignored him. Friends called, said they were dreaming about D, and could I please write something, maybe?
I tried. I had inspiration. I blocked out the new outlines for a revised Book 1 & 2 that made sense, outlines that seemed right.
But I couldn’t write them.
I didn’t understand, but I knew that one day, I would. I let the frustration go, and just let it be.
Then, it was TC’s birthday. We celebrated his birthday and the world not ending by going to a movie. It was lovely; I still listen to the soundtrack. Every day. My nearly-teen son teases me. I still listen.
This is not D, but TC and I still had fun shooting the pictures anyway!
After the movie, I had my celebratory glass of wine (or rather my I-survived-20-hrs-of-labor-and-100-extra-pounds glass of wine). I started thinking about D and the story (because not a day went by in 10 years that I didn’t think about D and the story), and the movie.
And there he was.
In all his glory. It slapped me across the face, gave me goose bumps and made me pay attention. He had a face. He had a voice. He had a presence that I could see and understand. He was mine. He had marinated in the morass that is my mind long enough, and he was mine.
And so I wrote. I wrote and I blew through the 3-chapter barrier. As we neared the end of part 1, re-writing the entire thing as we went, I realized that the camaraderie I had built with D was something ‘else.’
It might even be something others might enjoy.
Something that wasn’t me exactly, but was the story, was D, and was faintly entertaining in its own right.
So I blogged. And amazingly, I loved it! I still think Twitter may be Dante’s 8th circle, but it’s kind of fun. I even think I could have another blog (more on that later. . . I might also be crazy!).
My trouble is staying on task, focusing. I need to maintain a healthy disregard for D, otherwise these posts may become a bit of a love-fest, and that’s no fun! I also need to write Part 2, which is hard because I’m not a rabid nationalist anymore. I’ve switched sides, become Sean and I think I might have to OD on Braveheart in order to do Maureen’s idealism justice. The rest of the story is lovely and it’s spinning itself together in a way I had never before considered. I can’t wait to get there.
And then there is D. We do chat. He has a nice baritone, so conversing is lovely. It’s not that I dislike him anymore – I have a very healthy respect for him – but honestly, try living with an overbearing Scot with an ego as big as he is old. Respect, entertainment – it all goes flying out the window eventually.
This is why I’m in Rome. This is bigger – so much bigger – than I had anticipated. But I want to do it. I want to tell the tale and I want to be marketable. D is my brand. Having the support of like-minded people is incredible. And I am so thankful to be a part of the Rome Construction Crew.
D: So, if I’m your brand, does that mean you’re going to stop talking soon?
A: Yes, D – get ready to shine!