If you enter the word chapter in the search box on the sidebar, a list of old posts pops up, some dating back to 2010. As a writer, I often describe my own life in literary metaphor – new phases are chapters and events become stories I tell at parties. But at least half of the posts that pop are not metaphorical at all. Over the years I have, sporadically, recounted the trials and tribulations of writing my first novel… which morphed into a series of three books somewhere along the way.
Currently, I am scribbling chapter twenty-one of book three in a black Moleskine notebook with a blue Papermate pen. I still write everything by hand to start. (If I have access to a backspace button while working on a first draft, it’s rare that the draft gets beyond the first page. Perfectionism is a real problem.) On Saturday, I found myself unable to extricate myself from a particularly complex paragraph for what felt like ages – and actually was several hours.
At the same time, copies of my first two novels sit next to me. I worked with an incredibly talented designer to develop new cover art for After the Shots because I never loved the cover I made for it myself when it launched in 2014. At the same time, we collaborated on cover art for my second novel. Both are due to launch later this year, when I have finished checking them for errors for the zillionth time. (It should be noted that no amount of edits is ever enough – somehow, a typo always gets missed somewhere along the way.)
All the while, I wonder what will come next. I have lived more than half my life with these characters. I wrote the first two chapters of the first version of After the Shots one Sunday evening in tenth grade when I wanted an excuse to escape family dinner. Somehow, stories I began to develop at fifteen are even more relevant now that I am thirty-two, as the political climate all over the world shifts in ways that seemed unimaginable back then. But eventually, they will end. They have to. Any writer worth their salt will tell you that you have to kill your darlings. And they’re right. But when this proverbial chapter of my writing career ends, I’m not sure where I’ll go.
I don’t know if I’ll ever write a fourth novel. Well, that isn’t strictly true. I’ve written a lot more than three novels in my life. But I don’t know if I’ll ever write anything else I’ll feel compelled to publish. I don’t have any old projects I feel a particular pull to come back to. And, if I’m honest, I don’t have any new stories I feel a pressing need to tell. I suppose only time will tell where I go from here. But in the meantime, I’ll just keep scribbling.
#andotherstories #paigedenim #christianlouboutin #massimodutti