Friday, September 10, 2010

It's the Grief, Stupid.

I’ve been feeling, off. With respect to the book. It’s so close to finished, that for all intents and purposes, it’s finished. I just can’t bring myself to say goodbye. I realized, sitting in the coffee shop just now, listening to one of my Laura and Miguel playlists, that I’m grieving the loss of my novel.

I’m not actually losing the novel I know, but this phase, where it was just me and the characters, is coming to an end. At least I hope it is. The phase where I struggled with it on my own, figuring out what would come next, how it would end, how it would begin—all that is over. Which is a good thing. But as my mom says, even good changes are change.

I find myself missing the characters. Missing the good old days. Were they that good? Perhaps I should review old blog posts. Of course, there is a new novel, new characters waiting. But it’s hard to let go of Laura and Miguel. I’ve really fallen in love with them over the past three years. It seems like I’ve spent more time in their world than my own. It’s a place I like to be.

Do you ever want to just capture a moment in time? Stay in one happy place? I have to remind myself that in moving forward, I’m allowing for other good moments. For new experiences. And that although I’m moving on, Laura and Miguel’s story will stay frozen in time. At least this part of their story.

I’m thinking of creating some sort of ritual to memorialize the end of this phase. Yes, that’s the kind of person I am. I had a suit burning after I left the law firm. (It was a very old suit, and disturbingly flammable.) A book burning doesn’t seem appropriate. Any suggestions?


Kelly said...

Time capsule of items representing this time in your life and the characters. You can revisit it years later and fondly remember them all.

Texanne said...

Kelly has a good idea. Or you could have a small tea party for just your crit partners. You can spend a bit of time imagining, or even writing, an epilogue for them. Have them introduce you to the characters for the new book. Or--yes, write a scene in which Laura and Miguel introduce you to your new characters.

Then do as Kelly suggested, either in a metal lockbox or in one of those cardboard storage boxes from the office supply store. You could cover it in wrapping paper or contact paper, something like that. That should help you move forward.

El Filósofo said...

I don't have any suggestions for memorializing your novel. I do, however know what you're going through. When I was 14, I underwent a Shakespearean phase where I had hoped to break his record of 154 sonnets in his lifetime. I had hit numbers 25 to 30 (simultaneously) and realized I had no more subject matter. I got so upset that I even blamed my friend for stealing my creativity. She decided to write a declaration specifying that I could have my creativity back in my sonnet book. That was the day I knew she'd be friends for years to come. And I still have it so I guess that moment's been captured in time. Anyway, the moral is, do something ridiculous or wacky and the time passed will stay with you with surprising clarity.

Julie Owsik Ackerman said...

Thank you for these lovely suggestions! I love the idea of having Laura and Miguel introduce me to the new characters. I'm going to give it a try. Best, Julie

Ted Ackerman said...

Sounds like your ready to get started on the next one.
Maybe a "State Fair Romance"? or "Love on the Salmon River"?
Can't wait to ride this river of words, getting to know your characters and you a little better.

Mr. Ackerman said...

Would you consider posting other elements of the book you are working on like the query letter or the synopsis?