A cold came to stay the week after Easter this year, and left the door wide open for my next visitor…ear infections.
I have been lost in a fog every since this latest ailment settled in to stay 3 weeks and 3 days ago…not that I’m counting or anything.
Trying to function with blocked, painful ears is bad enough, but oh how my writing has suffered.
I have attempted to motor valiantly on because I so wanted to submit work for my writing group this coming Wednesday. I don’t want to see any openings posted for new members, just as I’m being shown the door!
Problem is, I have brain stall. I can no longer deny my affliction. The fact is, it has hampered the progress of my latest story in a big way. There I was, my pen flying across the paper as I pushed my character Daphne up the stairs to confront her daughter Gabriella. Daphne has just driven, with her husband Trey, all the way from Montreal, Quebec to Hamilton, Ontario. Two conflicts are brewing at this point in my story:
1/. Daphne is ill and must tell her daughter that the prognosis is not a good one.
2/. The night before, Daphne and Trey had received an upsetting middle of the night/early morning phone call from Gabriella. Their daughter had been hysterical, in tears, and almost incoherent. The only statement they could understand was that their daughter had quit medical school.
Questions are surfacing nicely within the story:
What’s going on with Gabriella? Why did she suddenly quit school? What had upset her so, that she would up and walk away from her dream of becoming a doctor?
How will Daphne tell her only child that her mother is, in fact, terminally ill?
All interesting elements to cut, stir and blend with words that will hopefully push the reader faithfully along, page after page.
I got Daphne all the way to Hamilton, into Gabriella’s house, and up the stairs to find her daughter. They need to talk, these two women of mine.
But…Daphne is frozen at the door to Gabriella’s elegant office:
“Gabriella’s office door was ajar, and Daphne could hear the muted strains of Vivaldi floating effortlessly around the room. Tapping on the door lightly to announce her presence, she pushed the door, opening it further into the room…”
And what happens next?
I have no idea.
My writer’s creative strength has weakened, and no matter how hard I have pushed, Daphne simply will not move from that door.
I stared at the computer screen, I scribbled and doodled in my work book, finally I left it all behind, so I could mull it over in my head as I tossed and turned in bed waiting for sleep. I truly do believe in the power of the subconscious, who hasn’t heard of the writer who solved a plot dilemma during sleep?
Bits and pieces of Daphne and Gabriella’s conversation began to drift through my mind. I picked up interesting pieces here and there, moving slowly so as not to startle my hesitant thoughts, but suddenly, out of the blue, a rock was hurtled through the window of Gabriella’s office! Glass shattered and splintered into the room, the women screamed!
Whoa, whoa! Wait a minute here! This does not work at all with my story! Sure it does, says my befuddled mind as it raises the decibel on the screaming.
Really? That’s all you can give me? No heartfelt, character revealing conversations, just a rock randomly flung through a window?
I cleared the shattered glass away and tried again. Nothing. Nada. Zippo, in the plot moving forward bag.
I reluctantly turned away from my story before aliens started showing up on the landing behind Daphne. I didn’t want to scare the poor woman to death, at least not yet.
I sighed loudly, hoping the activity would both open my blocked ears and awaken my imagination. At this rate, I’m going to be in my eighties before I’m published.
This ‘woe is me’ lament stirred a memory, and I went in search of my copy of “…And Ladies of the Club” by Helen Hooven Santmyer.
I needed to re-read the author’s introduction on the cover flap:
“..And Ladies of the Club” is the product of fifty years of work by its remarkable author, 88-year-old Helen Hooven Santmyer, but it is a rare event in any publishing season…
Okay, I feel a little bit better. There is no mandatory retirement for writers…I still have time.
Maybe I’ll bring cupcakes to my meeting this week. It will, perhaps, distract from my lack of productivity.