Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Writer's Mindset

Progress is slow on the new book proposal. I was stuck on one scene that turned out to be a mere three pages long for a week, but after that I plowed through the rest of chapter one.

Frustrating as this, I am at least out of the questioning myself phase. I still indeed can write. Will this be the big breakthrough novel with the huge brilliant concept? Not so sure about that. I have two other concepts that I think are probably more likely to do that, but they aren't fully formed yet. This is. I believe this is the book I need to write right now. But I'm trying not to focus on that too much or I will trip myself up on thoughts of market and what will my agent think.

The important thing is that I'm in the writer's mindset again. I know this because I am seeing story absolutely everywhere. It started last night. I was listening to one of my regulars, a retired woman who I used to chat with quite a bit when I worked during the day, but usually she and her husband are leaving when I start my shift. Last night they stuck around a bit, long enough for her to relate to me this story about a tree that had been standing in front of their condo building. She felt like it was her tree because its branches hung over her balcony. It shielded her living room from the world to the degree that they didn't need drapes. The tree was half dead though. The half that faced her was living, the other half dead. But it had been like that for at least four years and it was fine. Apparently on Tuesday one of her busybody neighbors decided it was not fine. Even though this busybody woman always called to alert my regular whenever something was happening in the neighborhood like, "People put their trash in our dumpster. What should we do?" She did not call to consult about the tree. She saw village cutting down a tree down the street and went over to tell them about the half dead tree. When my regulars arrived home from lunch, their tree, their piece of nature, their shield was gone. "I'm just sick over it," my regular kept repeating.

I was sick over it for her too. But I also felt like, wow this is a story, wow this is a big metaphor for something, wow wow wow there are just so many moments like this in life and I'm glad I am here to observe them.

I also took note later when one of my other regulars invented a new elaborate system of ordering drinks that involved using the number that corresponded with the first letter of the words he was abbreviating. Round of Shots became "We need a 18 14 19 over here." I think it amused him because it sounded like police codes or something. It mystified me completely, but I was amazed that he could figure it all out after several 18-14-19s. It'll go in the bartender book...

Then this evening on my way to writer's group I noticed that someone had left a heart shaped refrigerator photo magnet out in the rain on a ledge near the steps to the parking lot. There was a picture of a woman in her 40s with bad sort of 80s spiky hair in the magnet. I didn't recognize her as one of my neighbors. I wondered who she was and who had left her out in the rain and whether it meant something or if it was an accident.

So yeah, I'm seeing stories everywhere so hopefully over the weekend, I can really nail mine.

And as long as I'm not in total deadline chaos next week (ideally proposal should be to agent on Tuesday, but it must be in by Friday because after that my life gets crazy), I'll stop boring you with all this writerly stuff and do a week of wedding blogging. Because umm it's a month away and I really should be focused on it more...