One minute before midnight, Saturday November 28th, 2009. Exactly one month to the minute that I have spent every waking moment thinking of, planning for, contemplating, jotting concepts and ideas on sticky notes, and living the life of characters outside the realm of my own reality. I have felt their pain, heard their cries, laughed at their humour, been challenged by their limitations and been awed by their amazingly powerful, multi-dimensional spirits. They have filled me up and consumed my every thought word and deed for twenty-eight straight days and nights. Four complete weeks of total and utter absorption in something other than me and my own life – often even to the exclusion of my husband who has so recently joined me here in Victoria after so long an absence between us.
Today I completed the project to which I have dedicated these many hours, days and weeks. The goal was to write a novel. The commitment was to make that novel a minimum of 50,000 words. I made that commitment and kept it. I not only met it, I exceeded it by 2,855 additional words. The majority of my day today was dedicated to the final two chapters. Forty-two chapters in total, plus an Epilogue, shall one day fill a book with the story that has unfolded before my own eyes and to the amazement of even my own creativity.
I laughed often at my own foolishness as I would sit here at my computer with the intention of taking my characters to certain places, or giving them specific opportunities or introducing them to new concepts in very controlled and guided ways – my ways. The laughter would erupt from me because, like a child, each character had his or her own idea as to what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go, who they wanted to meet or with whom to interact. My suggestions that they behave in certain ways was immediately overruled in favour of their own perceived objectives and they went where they wanted and did what they pleased, in spite of me. Yes, it made me laugh to think of my own foolishness to believe that I had any power at all in the revelation of this tale that took on a life of its own.
After such loving, joyful, sometimes painful and always touching interaction with these beautiful characters that became real within this story, I wrote the last of their adventure today. At precisely 6pm PST in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I, Marcia Mae Nelson Pedde typed the magical words The End upon the page before me. A novel had come to a finale. There was resolve, revelation, learning, and immense potential for the future. Mystery was unveiled, issues dealt with and there was closure.
The next phase of my role in this journey is the editing – structural and fundamental recovery of lousy prose, horrid punctuation, and improvement to the grammar. What was written as an introductory chapter I already know is going to have to be totally overhauled. As I mentioned earlier here, the story line I initially intended as I began this novel took on a life of its own and went in an entirely different direction. As a result the first chapter has the prime characters living and acting in places and ways that were no longer effective for them in the new roles the characters themselves wanted to experience.
Does this sound odd to you? If you are an artist in any medium, you will likely understand exactly what occurred to me through this creative journey.
Yet my prime reason for writing tonight is that after all that has occurred today, I’m feeling sad – maybe even a little lonely. This day was filled to the brim writing over 4000 words. I finished the novel, submitting it to the Nanowrimo.org website for word count and validation. My joy and exhilaration generated through an amazing feat of loving commitment was shared with my husband, family and other supporters who journeyed with me through all of this. The high of it all, the pride, has been replaced this evening with a sense of emptiness. My characters have gone to bed. They sleep. They’ve earned that rest, having worked long and hard for it. So have I.
However, rest eludes me. I miss them all. Their chatter in my head is gone. The voices are silent. Their planning, scheming and laughter no longer fill my mind; no longer spew out from my fingers on to the computer screen.
I come to the computer this evening to write. The muscles must remain exercised – even if it is merely those in my fingers and between my ears – yet they must be worked. And so I choose to come here to share my emotions and my journey with you, dear reader.
Thank you for caring enough to peruse these words. May you understand what I am choosing to share with you. Should you not, I thank you for taking the time to listen anyway to the ranting of a woman who loves to live with creative abandon.
In Light & Laughter & Loss,