Today was one of those days that everything I wrote ended up in the trash. I wouldn't call it a "block" but I definitely felt stuck on something. In this case, it was a character named Tommy who precariously teeters on the edge of fiction and reality. Tommy wanted my undivided attention today, reminding me of his importance in the book and in my own life.
Tommy's character is based on a friend of mine who I lost 8 years ago. He was present in my life at a time when I was very lost and very angry. Without hesitation, he looked at me and said "I believe in you" when no one else in my life would. That moment changed me indefinitely and forever bonded me to a wonderful man and mentor. In the winter of 2004, shortly after my second son was born, my friend died in a terrible accident. The birth of my second child was complicated and my recovery was long and difficult. I wasn't able to make the trip home for his funeral and it haunts me to this day.
When Spring arrived, I left my boys with my husband and made the pilgrimage back home. Having that time away allowed me to grieve for my loss and to spend some much needed time visiting his grave. I spent a lot of time there writing to him and eventually I left what I wrote for him at the foot of his grave. The process of saying goodbye to my friend began a stream of daydreams about what it would be like if someone picked up my letters and read them. Would it be a stranger? Would it be someone I know? Would they try to find me? That is where the idea for my book took shape.
I know my friend is smiling down at me, ever encouraging to stick my neck out there. Sometimes I wonder if those daydreamy questions weren't his suggestions floating down from heaven. I am certain I wouldn't be where I am if my friend hadn't taken the time to listen to an angry kid. For whatever reason, it mattered to him to know who I was outside of my attitude. When days like today are full of the persistent write-delete, I think of my friend and his faith in me.
Never a day, B. Not one. Ever.