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This Year I Rewrite My Novel???Part XIV, Maybe I Should Quit with the Roman Numerals.

But why now? I AM going to ROME next week!

First, I’ll be a bridesmaid in a Bordeaux dress. Except that the dress is so ______ that NO ONE WILL WANT TO DRINK THIS WINE.

(For a second, you thought I was going to Bordeaux, didn’t you? It’s not that good.)

Then, from the wedding in Charlotte, NC, I skip to Italy where my friend, Talia, a MFA student at the University of Washington, will finish a summer program in poetry.

I’ll eat pizza and eat more pizza. I’ll sleep in a B&B that I chose because of its name–“AL PANTHEON CON THOMAS MANN!”

Ah, to be young and in debt!

I caught this travel bug the same time that I got the nerve to rewrite my novel, and to get one of those unlimited yoga passes at the local studio and to start taking up salsa dancing.

It happened sometime last December or January–about a month or so after my friend, Patrick, a writer, died in an accident.

He was 32.

Thirty minutes before he died, I happened to be talking to him on the telephone. We were all getting ready to go out to celebrate the publication of another friend’s novel.

We were talking specifically about a bottle of Scotch.

Near the end of our conversation, Patrick said he had been packing for a trip home to Minnesota the next day to research his memoir. He had been working on this memoir, or some form or manifestation of the longing to write it, all throughout the MFA Program we had completed together.

I had already become familiar with the characters of this memoir, who were also the characters and the people of his childhood and life. And I couldn’t wait to see them again, for them to pop out of the page at me.

I couldn’t wait for Patrick to finish his book.

Life is too short. That seems obvious and juvenile, something you learn when you’re five and your parents have to explain why the pet hamster does not move anymore and no longer does hamster things.

It is not a juvenile realization when you realize that life is too short as an adult, when you start losing people, when losing people becomes as complicated as having them, when you realize you may be next.

I wrote my first draft with my father in mind, who also died in an accident about 6 years ago, and I write my final draft for those, including Patrick, who pass before it’s even done.

But I’m not waiting any more for the characters to pop out at me. I’m coming to get them.

(See you in a couple weeks!)