We spent this past weekend at my brother and sister-in-law’s near Richmond, and both Saturday and Sunday, we watched as vultures gathered on a dead tree in my brother’s back yard. In a house filled with old people, that’s not a sight you want to see. I finally figured out why they were there. They were there for me. Well, not for my actual body. I’m hoping I still have some good years left. They were there for my dead manuscript. Yes, it is dead in the water, or as Dickens said of Old Marley, dead as a door-nail. After whizzing through the first 30,000 words, I’ve finally run out of steam. My characters stare listlessly back at me, slugging down their gin and tonics, wondering when I will get busy and do my part. After all, they tell me, they wrote the first 30,000 words with no help from me. They invented themselves and set their subplots into motion while I was still sharpening my pencils. “The plot’s all yours, Old Woman,” they say, those little condescending snots.
Now I am sitting here with 40,000 words of rubbish, 170 double-spaced pages, and unless a miracle occurs, I ain’t going to get any further. What’s worse, I think I used up all my brain cells getting those 40,000 words out, because I can’t even think of any decent blog posts. I’m pretty sure my writing days are over. What ever made me think I could write a novel? What a joke! I have about as much chance of finishing this project as I do of becoming a concert violinist (I now have Lightly Row memorized). I might as well throw the whole thing in the trash where it belongs and clean out the garage, a much more worthwhile job. Or I could feed it to those vultures who obviously have been waiting for it. They know when something’s dead by its smell, you know, and my novel stinks to high heaven. Or, maybe I should…WHACK! Ouch! Sorry, I just slapped myself in the face. Time to get back to work.