Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Two Toddlers and a Porch

Welcome to Day 4 of 30 Days of Fade! Today is all about the memories, but before I get into that, I just want to say happy 8th wedding anniversary to The Husbinator. He completes me, and I love him a little more every day. I also would not have been able to do this without him. He is my rock, and has been my biggest cheerleader since I was a 12 year old kid with no clue what I wanted out of life or where it'd take me. Every day, I'm grateful that the 16 years since has taken us here, there, and everywhere together.

Now, on to Day 4!

I cannot remember who said it originally, but the popular writerly saying goes, "writing is a solitary endeavor." You hunker down over a keyboard or a notebook for hours at a time, and ignore everything but the characters who've made the dim recesses of your imagination home. You mutter to yourself, curse at your characters, and stare at your family blankly when they ask if you plan on feeding them anytime this century.

If you're lucky, you have a small group you vent to about the frustrations inherent in writing... like the characters who refuse to say a word the entire time you're at the computer, but they won't shut up at 3 in the morning when you have a meeting at 8am. Or the plot that fizzled before it even began. Or your addiction to coffee, the sentence that just won't cooperate, or the chapter that your word processing program ate.

They tend to know exactly how you feel because they've been there, done that, and probably will again before the month is out. They empathize, sympathize, and celebrate with you. They talk you through the impossible times, and convince you that you're insane for wanting to take a flamethrower to the manuscript you've poured over for months.

When I started writing Fade, I didn't have critique partners like that. What I had was two toddlers and my mom's front porch. She had this awesome front porch that engulfed the front of the old Victorian she lived in. The thing was massive, and so comfortable. I sat out there for hours in the middle of winter, with frozen fingers, a numb behind, and a smile on my face. 

Aloshua and Kaia

When I'd eventually get so dang cold I couldn't take it anymore, I'd gather my things up and head inside to her dining room table. It was there that the boys would join me. Aloshua was this tiny little thing with huge eyes and hands that could barely wrap around a pencil. He didn't have much to say, but he loved sitting in his highchair beside me and working on his own stories. So did his slightly older brother Kaia. They'd climb up beside me, grab a pencil and a piece of paper and write stories for me to take home. Kaia took pride in "reading" me the stories they'd written for me. They never made much sense, but he was always so proud of what he'd written to go in books "just wike 'da ones you wead to me!"

We read a lot of books. Kaia's been my little shadow since he was born, so anything I read, he wanted to read too. I'd read to him until my throat was sore and all I could do was croak the words. We made it through the entire Twilight series, through Prince and the Pauper, A Tale of Two Cities, The OdysseyA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and through the first draft of Fade that year. 

My mom doesn't have the awesome porch anymore, but I still have my little writing buddies. Aloshua still happily hunkers down with me and writes his heart out. Kaia still asks me a thousand questions every time I sit down to write. I can't help but smile in relief that the sense of wonder they found during those long evenings at my mom's dining room table is still firmly in-tact.

Every time I pick up Fade, I remember those early days of frozen fingers and pint-sized assistants, and hope that one of these days, it'll be Kaia or Aloshua sitting where I am today: with a contract on a shelf, and a smile on their faces.

An auntie can hope, right?



  1. You either skipped a day or misnumbered. I'm going with the latter.

    Love you dear :)

  2. Erm, I miscounted, and wouldn't have even noticed if you hadn't pointed it out. It's fixed now though. ;)


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