Characters

“My life has a superb cast, but I can’t figure out the plot.”

I’ve had a magnet with that quote on my fridge for years, but I’ve rarely though much about the source since it felt like it had actually been written both by me and for me. I googled it, and as it turns out Ashleigh Brilliant has said a lot of clever and hilarious things in his time:

  • “The difference between friendship and love is how much you can hurt each other.”
  • “It’s human to make mistakes and some of us are more human than others.”
  • “Please don’t lie to me, unless you’re absolutely sure I’ll never find out the truth.”
  • “Strange as it may seem, my life is based on a true story.”
  • “If you don’t do it, you’ll never know what would have happened if you had done it.”
  • “I may not be totally perfect, but parts of me are excellent.”
  • “Strangely enough, this is the past that somebody in the future is longing to go back to.”
  • “Should I abide by the rules until they’re changed, or help speed the change by breaking them?”
  • “If I had more skill in what I’m attempting, I wouldn’t need so much courage.”

He’s a British author and cartoonist and I’m going to read some of his books. You too should check him out.

So…I have characters. A lot of characters in a big cast. In fact, I have 392,509 characters, which translates into 88,724 words, which translates into 246 pages, which translates into a BOOK. Yes, after an extraordinarily long gestation period I have given birth to a book baby. My winter of solitude has finally amounted to something. A-M-E-N.

It’s going to need a couple more months of TLC, but I’ve patched together my hard work into a single document and now I have a book. I’m sending it to a professional editor on Monday when I leave here, but today I have other plans.

Today I’m going to Ojo Caliente. I was going to go today anyway, for a break, but now that I’m leaving behind a book baby I’m going there for a cleansing, celebratory soak. I’ll swim, sun and read. I’m going to relax. Not pretend relax, I will really relax.

Twenty-four hours ago I was not relaxed, and sat with a friend yesterday afternoon doing that climbing/crawling/carrying on thing, and I just couldn’t be still. I needed a swaddle or a time-out. I was not even close to being still. My friend knew I had four more days to work on the book, but the way he looked at me it made me wonder if he thought I’d make it through four more days of intensity.

He gave me an out, told me not to kill myself finishing in the next four days. Then I heard the words come out of my mouth: “If I stop editing and just cut and paste the chapters I’ve already worked on in order I could be done in two hours.” Yes. That made sense. Why second guess the hard work I’ve already done? Why do we do that? The editor will help me figure out the gaps and the excess. He’ll help me. I’m so proud of myself for asking for help that I can hardly stand it, yet I’m acting like someone who scrubs the toilets before the cleaning lady comes.

When we parted I sat myself in front of a plate of pulled pork and less than two hours later I had a book.

Yes, I will work on it over the next couple of days. Yes, I need a concluding chapter and so far only have notes for it. But YES, my hard work has paid off. I accomplished what I came here to accomplish.

I love my characters. All 392,509 of them.

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