New Year’s Resolution #1: Finish THE BOOK. New Year’s Resolution #2: See #1.
Unfortunately, it’s the truth. All of my “spare” time this upcoming year will be spent doing what I have grown completely obsessed with of late, and that’s finishing THE BOOK. Know why? IT’S GETTING SO GOOD. Hooray!!!
I’ve been obsessing over a pattern lately, one that I wanted to work into THE BOOK, but it was just falling flat for some reason, and then this morning, after a good night’s sleep and some thoughtful time with coffee, it hit me. I found the thread to pull the pieces together so that things make sense the way that I want them to–I mean, it is my book after all, right? Let me explain.
Of course, you know about the fairy tale theme I’d like to run through THE BOOK, as well as some other bits and pieces including my classroom and Ricky Martin. Well, I’d come up with a few vignettes that I could coincidentally all tie together (to intermittently place within the chronological story line ) because they had all happened in the summer: Summer 1973, Summer 1998, Summer 2004, etc…Wait. Here’s an excerpt of an example:
I am twenty-nine years old, married to my high school sweetheart, and the mother of two little girls when I fall hopelessly in love—at first sight—with another man.
I am in the heart of Europe—Warsaw, Poland—on a Holocaust study tour with 50 other teachers from around the United States, and it’s my first trip overseas. Learning about the Holocaust both fascinates and disgusts me, and I know that my time here and in Israel the next couple weeks will better prepare me to teach about it, but I’m out of my element. I haven’t been alone or just Aimee—not wife, mom, teacher—in several years. It’s so weird.
Every morning at about the same time, I hear his rousing chant on MTV Europe—the only Polish channel I can understand. “Go, go, go! Allez, allez, allez!” he shouts and sings, and I am enchanted.
Who was this beautiful man with the velvety voice and energetic dance moves?
Two weeks later, the song still echoing in my brain, I chanted those lyrics to an Israeli music store salesman to find out who I had fallen in love with.
A smile immediately crossed his face in recognition.
“Aaahhh, Ricky Martin,” he responded, then handed me a compilation CD with “The Cup of Life” on it.
But the thing that was messing up the regular narrative was putting my age at the very beginning of each of the “Summer” vignettes, which was locking me into a chronology with them as well. I kept up writing, revising, moving and crunching, switching and copying and pasting, and on and on and on…knowing that something still wasn’t clicking, but that I’d eventually figure it out. As you already know, I struggled a bit with the structure of the story, but decided on Mostly Chronological, as it made the most sense to me. Still, I want to be able to drop these “summer” vignettes into the story wherever they fit, you know?
Also, I have all these terrific little gems that are elements of fairy tales (phrases) that I also wanted to weave into the book, maybe even as chapter titles…but I just couldn’t figure that out quite yet, either. Phrases like: “once upon a time,” “in a land far, far away,” “an intense struggle,” “a magical encounter,” and you get the gist.
Today, I got it! I figured it out, and I got so excited that I don’t even want to go back to school tomorrow–I just want to write THE BOOK!!!!!! Here’s what I’m trying, and of course, this could always change….The “Summer” pieces will become Fairy Tale Interludes (I even looked it up!), possibly numbered, titled with the fairy tale phrasing/elements I have ready to go. I will revise all of the pieces to lose my age, thereby allowing me to place them wherever I want to help tell the backstory, and voila! Yay!!! So, for the above example about Ricky Martin:
Fairy Tale Interlude 2: A Magical Encounter
I am married to my high school sweetheart and the mother of two little girls when I fall hopelessly in love—at first sight—with another man…
Better, right? I’m so excited about this development! (And maybe it seems too obvious to all of you, but wow, it was an epiphany for me. Wanna write THE BOOK for me?)
Anyway, I have to go. Tonight, I’m giving up my “spare” time to watch the season premiere of my favorite show, “The Bachelor”…it’s Nick’s season to win love, after three other attempts, and I really like him. Plus, I figured that after last week’s almost four full days of writing THE BOOK, I could take an eensy break. Bye for now!
Also, P.S. Do you like the new look of the blog? I thought the chalkboard was too “heavy” and dark…?
P.P.S. After the advice of some readers, I have gone back to the chalkboard theme. I am a teacher after all. (Thanks, Caleb and Kendall.)