Thursday, September 14, 2006

keep moving, shark

Fall has come and with it early darkness. I have decided this is the cycle I like best: evening in the library with only the dedicated, the scholars in scarves. I have begun outlining a second novel, following much of the program the first time around: scribbling index cards, shuffling cards, cobbling an outline. This is the school of a woman who never had a fiction class. But this time, the outline is six chapters long, and while the one for the last book was twenty pages, this one’s just a few of long, dense, run-on paragraphs. I know the story. I love the characters. I’m good to go.

But I think I need to make it harder. I want to. I think the story needs to be bigger. I think this time it’s not just about one woman, one voice. I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve never taken on this kind of a project. I’ve never told a story from a third person perspective, let alone multiple perspectives.

But until three years ago, I had never told a story. Period.

I wrote a novel because I was bored with writing poems. I didn’t know if I could do that. Okay. I did that. I know I can now. Time to do something else. Time to stay interested. Time to stay alive. Time to keep moving, shark.

I think this one’s a boy, my friend B__ said when I saw her unexpectedly this summer, scrambling after her two year-old girl, her stomach only a little bit grown. My old neighbor from college, girl I met at eighteen, girl who carried her guitar everywhere and wrote songs about boys and songs about fish, girl with whom I road-tripped, girl with whom I grew up, looking only a little bit different, still younger, still with sun-bright hair. She touched her stomach, smiled. It feels different this time.