I have a particular novel that I started in 2001 that won’t leave me alone. Except for scanty excerpts, she is unpublished. This particular novel was the first writing longer than a short story that I ever finished. She was kidnapped by a college filmmaker – he won an award for his short – and she inspired a local artist to make pastel and chalk drawings, line drawings, and beautifully inked sketches. That was when she was new, slobbering, energized. She has become like a neglected dog with hair over her eyes, extruding rib cage from undernourishment, and scale dark nails that have cracked from need of clipping.
This particular novel started as a single image that morphed into a graphic novel which disintegrated into a wordy over-descriptive book. Each page created under the alchemy of Tori Amos’ albums Under the Pink and Little Earthquakes. The backdrop scenery always in autumnal colors among Midwestern landscapes: red rotting barns, browned abandoned buildings, and golden fields for miles in any direction. Language trying to compensate for a character who can’t speak. Pages and pages of purple prose for a main character who is too much heart and not enough thought. One character evoked the name of a woman I only met when she was dying, formed of that first brush of youth with death, my bean feasha. Characters of silence and confusion, lost on the page but so crystal and clear in my mind.
This particular novel is my most beloved pet and yet…she has been shoved aside for thesis and magazine, dirty dishes and visits to the park, doctor appointments and vacuuming, blogs and grocery shopping. She is my most loved and unforgettable….and yet I’ve not given her a single new word in years. I’ve not taken her out or attended her soggy adjectives or culled her meandering plot. I think of her daily…and yet I don’t act on it at all. She lingers, whimpering…she’s turning feral.
I have a particular novel that, if left untended, will tear me apart in my sleep. She’ll find a way to rend words and stories, chew each new page of any other project into soaked, decimated shreds. She is gaining strength from madness and I am pretty sure, if I don’t put her to revision soon, she’ll put me down first.