Tuesday night, 2:22 a.m., I wrote my most favorite two words in the English Language:
Which doesn’t actually mean that the book is done, just this draft. But damn, this draft nearly killed me, and I wept through the entire last act. (That’s not a euphemism.) I’m still not sure if I captured what I wanted to capture, and that’s where I will set it aside and have a couple of trusted friends read. I’ve got good Betas in that I’ve done enough with them now that they know what I’m looking for–the type of editing I want–and they also know what I don’t want (someone rewriting something). They’ll give me feedback next week, and I’ll polish it.
Luckily, this draft is many many drafts into the process, so it’s relatively smooth. (Except, maybe, that final act, which was almost all from scratch.)
It is an ending that breaks my heart in a lot of ways, because I can see that the time is coming to let this project go. To say goodbye to this part of the process and move on to the next project, fall in love with the next characters and their story. It’s like watching your children grow up. When they’re first born, there’s all this possibility and potential and you have no idea what they might be. You know… you always know, they won’t be perfect, because no one is. (You kinda wouldn’t mind if they were close, though.) But you know it’s not possible and you do your dead level best to keep them alive, keep them focused, keep them moving forward in a positive way.
Same with a book. It’s not going to be perfect. None are. No way for everyone to love your child–or your book–like you do. Some will hate it, through no fault of its own. Some will hate it and have plenty of reasons why, and maybe some of them are right. Others will love it, because it just speaks to them. You hope you’ve managed more of the latter than the former, and you move on.
Endings. Beginnings. Can’t have one without the other. You can’t start something new and refreshing and challenging without letting go of the old.
So, now I will polish and nudge and shine and then, it’s on to the next one while this one graduates and tries to make it out in the big world.
In the mean time, I’m taking a couple of weeks to do some painting I promised my granddaughter a son. He just bought a new house last March and they’ve been in a while… and her room is beige. All beige. Ceiling, walls, floor. Then there’s the challenge that her furniture had been white, but looked worn out. I’d tried a painting technique that sounded good in theory, and I didn’t like it. (It would have been fine for one small piece, but I didn’t think about how many pieces she has of this set.)
See that sort of blue/gray piece? That’s Annie Sloan Chalk paint, and I was going for an aged effect. I’d seen a version in a magazine, and I stopped a couple of steps away from the final product because I could tell it wasn’t going to be what I wanted. And there are several pieces–it would have never worked in that room to have that many pieces in that color. Plus, no one mentioned that it’s best not to try to do the wax outside in the type of heat and humidity we have in South Louisiana. I was thinking (ha ha ha) that heat would make the wax more pliable, easier to use. Almost melty. That I could wipe it on and work it into the crevices and then wipe it off. I knew I needed to work in sections, but I had no idea that that stuff would solidify as soon as I put it on. The first day, the temps weren’t bad, so it seemed fine. The next time I went back to finish the piece, the temps had risen, and the wax was a nightmare to use.
I kept trying, thinking it would turn out okay. I plead complete insanity. I was mid-draft then, and I think all my brain cells had leaked out my ears. If I’d had any working cells, I’d have stepped back, taken one look at that color and realized that a room full of that for a little girl was just not going to look good. The one positive about the Annie Sloan Chalk paint though–that stuff covers anything, so I can go back over it with the white and not worry too much. I’ll age that white with a light wax. (I hope. We’ll see.)
I’m going over there on Tuesday. The walls are going to be a purple (not quite lavender, but not dark, either). All of the furniture will be off-white, and I’ve already got the bedding. Purple is her favorite color, so I think she’s going to be happy. I’m hoping to get the furniture done by the end of the week, and the walls may end up being done the following week. I’ve got a couple of surprises for her for the walls, and a new light fixture, if I can find what I want. Plus a rug, etc.
She started kindergarten Tuesday. Just seems absolutely impossible. Just yesterday, she was this teeeeeeny tiny little thing, not quite five pounds. Now, she’s:
Endings and beginnings. What are you starting or finishing up lately?