As Graceless as a Three-Legged Baby Elephant

The lovely Martin guitar. Image: public domain

The title of the post comes from the last scene I worked on last night. Kate’s first night with Tom, as she falls out of bed with no memory of finally snagging the guy she’s been pining over for years. Ah, rock and roll.

So yes: writing continues apace! And with seven hours of sleep last night, not to mention a most fantastic wine discovery (the tannat grape is one of my new favorites, and ideal for sipping in the summer for those of us who really can’t deal well with white wines–I drank the unoaked Pueblo del Sol, 2009, and it runs only ten bucks… I want to buy a case it was so good) I’m in a rather delightful mood. I’ve been a big fan of South American wines for some time, and this was a big surprise for me (there are over 270 wineries in Uruguay, which was news to me; most of what I know about Uruguay has to do with the No Reservations episode with both Bourdain brothers in search of their lost family history). Also? The husband’s had some very good news on the job front, the kids are doing well, and aside from our eldest removing our youngest from her crib without our knowing, there have been no issues.

One thing I’m coming to realize, however, is that though I’ve managed to kick carpal tunnel’s ass when it comes to writing (due to a combination of surgery, vitamin B6, and never EVER using a normal keyboard) it appears that playing guitar for any long amount of time just doesn’t agree with me. The problem lies in my left wrist, which has always been the poorer performer anyway. After two days of playing guitar, I found old symptoms returning last night (which were alleviated somewhat by that awesome tannat). Still, writing this book is putting me in an overwhelmingly musical mood, and so I’m contemplating finding a used digital piano so that I can compose a sort of soundtrack as I’m going along. The eldest is already showing proclivities for the keys, and I can comfortably say that having a piano in my house as a kid was one of the main factors in my picking up music to begin with. Between my birthday and payment for the GeekMom book, I’m figuring I owe myself a present. Also, I went through childbirth and brought a human being into the world. I owe myself a little something, I’d say.

Anyway, overall I’m pleased with where the book is going. Kate’s POV is really easy to slip into, and the more music I listen to the more things about this particular story come to the surface. I had my first totally rough writing patch, where I just wrote a scene to put it in there (even though I know that’s not the final scene) just to get through to the next section. But hey, that’s what editing is for. The book is told in a combination of the main narrative and the narrator’s memories, so there’s plenty of space to move back and forth to restructure later.

My favorite bit of what I’ve been working on follows, as Kate’s examining the one-year relationship she had with the lead singer of the band, Tom. As Kate puts it: The math is sad and simple: four years pining, one year in love and suffering intensely, and two years regretting every bit of it. 

I’ll always love Tom Chesley, and at this point I’m finally okay with that. It’s stupid to think that you can move on in life and just leave people behind, people who come to define you. And it’s worse for people like me and James, songwriters who fold our biggest hopes and fears right into the fabric of our vocation. It’s like tattooing the heartbreak on our souls, then being forced to show each other the scars every night on stage. Sure, sometimes it gets monotonous. At a point, songs become songs, and after you’ve played the tune seventeen nights in a row, it gets a bit watered down. But there still some nights when we’re playing “Lost and Loving” or “Midnight in London” when I look over at Tom, hearing him sing the words I wrote for him, that I get choked up.

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