I'm breezing through a new manuscript right now. I can't wait to rush to the computer in the morning, I hate that groggy feeling at night that signals the end of productive writing time. I think about the characters all day, running their dialogues around in my head. When I can't get to the keyboard I use my phone's digital recorder and speak ideas into or conversations into it, and I text myself messages, like "don't forget to have Agnes use the gas leaf blower to. . . ." (You'll have to wait to read that funny scene.)
I love it when writing comes together like this--with all the pistons firing, the ideas flowing so fast I can scarcely type them before a new one barges in. I've thought about getting the old "Dragon Speak" software out so I can dictate the story. I honestly think I could tell it a one long sitting, That's how clear it is to me right now.
I haven't had this clarity in a long time, and the reason is, my mind was complicated with so many other issues. The difference now? I'm writing about events currently occurring in my sometimes crazy world. Every day yields living research, and every day a new hilarious, frustrating, tender story unfolds.
The new book had gone through several titles already--Ricochet, Moon River, The Dragons of Alsace Farm. Right now I'm settling on The Rabbits of Alsace Farm, a far cry from a title about dragons, but both fit the story, and this one highlights a more tender aspect of the story.
Intrigued? OOhhhh. I hope so.
The story is coming together so seamlessly, and so fast, but in truth, it has been about a decade in the making, and portions of the writing date back to things I literally wrote a decade ago. It's basically a quilted manuscript, and here's why. I started a sequel to my first novel, Unspoken, soon after it was released, but it wasn't picked up. The main theme wrapped around two young men who were each broken in their own way and vying for the same young woman. I have always loved the minor character, and the settings, but the manuscript sat on a shelf for ten years, as did the parts I loved.
About three years ago my mother began showing serious indications of dementia, and last January she was medically diagnosed. Since then, the family has been on a roller coaster ride of emotions from worry and stress, to sorrow and parenthood. Some days are very hard. Some are priceless.
Enter a very compassionate, mildly disabled married couple willing to live with Mom and be her helper in exchange for the right to live on the farm and raise some animals and crops. This arrangement is now a model that might one day bless the lives of others in my mother's situation.
The book isn't biographical about Mom and her friends, but the scenario touched me and I saw the good that could come from offering a a glimpse into the complicated world of supporting a parent with dementia.
But I needed a character in a situaiton similar to my mother. And who could characterize the goodness and vulnerability of this couple? I pulled those beloved characters from my old manuscript. Like I said, it's coming together seamlessly.
I'll be posting on here about the book, and also about Mom and her caregivers from time to time. I hope you'll follow along. So many families will have parents who begin the slide into the terrible rabbit hole of dementia, (she how the title fits in?) and I hope my experiences will help others support their loved one with humor and grace.
All the best.