Wow, I’ve been away for a bit. And I have a good excuse, too. I had to rewrite my book yet again. I’m not sure what the title will be at this point. I originally chose Waiting For My Daughter’s Ghost, but my agent wants to change it to Last Walk With Willie Nelson, which points to a pivotal scene where Sasha and Dillon take their dying dog for one final walk.
For two weeks, this was my view. It’s the ceiling of the Loussac Library here in Anchorage, and I threw my head back and stared up at it numerous times throughout each day as I sweated and struggled and picked my poor fingernails down to nothing.
Editing is a thankless and infuriating task because if the truth be told, there is no (no!) perfect way to write a book. Once you start doubting one path, it’s almost impossible not to doubt every. single. frigging. word. And I doubted. Lord, I doubted.
And I obsessed. And wrote. And deleted. And obsessed. And wrote. It was a sloooww process. But I finally finished and handed in the finished book last Monday.
Then I crawled in bed and slept for 16 hours straight. Yeah: 16 hours. I don’t even think I dreamed. I slept hard and deep, and when I finally woke, I had no idea where I was in time.
One thing I did that helped me through the process was that I hired a writing coach. I’ll talk more about this in a future post, but I must give early shouts and thanks to the lovely and talented Lauren Sapala (whom I love, love, love) for all of her help.
Thankfully, my life has consisted of more than writing, and much has happened in the month since I’ve been away.
We visited my son down in Portland and then headed off to Seaside for a short holiday. (Oh, how bittersweet to visit one’s grown-and-living-on-his-own son! I am so proud of him, he is such a cool person. But he is his own person now and he will never, ever be my boy again. Which is how it should be, which is how it must be, how I want it to be but oh, how I miss having him in the same house!)
A mother cow moose and her baby visited the yard.
We’re watching a dog named Seriously for a friend of a friend who is out boat captaining through the end of the year. We’ve fallen madly in love with Seriously and it will be a small tragedy to return her to her rightful owner (but she belongs to me, to me!, a childish voice inside of me cries).
And I fell in love with this poem by Leeanne Quinn. It is so perfect and wonderful that it gives me goosebumps each time I read.
It was all crimson or black anyway,
eyes opened or closed it looked good
out there, when things were still
beyond reach and no one had come
to warn you of your potential
like you were wood or stone, waiting
to be something made from wood or stone.
And the sun didn’t need to be fixed
to a certain height or lowered
to a specific point, for you to be happy.
It was glamorous too, in the pre-emptive
stage, when you had gathered yourself
to yourself as if you were love or
simply something warmer
than your own skin. The air
was breathable then, it took from you
and was returned
unblemished. And with that, life
was in the wings, beating a silent drum
before you, telling you this,
and this, and this.