Is Anybody Home?

“Mommy, Mom, Mother, Brenda, Strange Lady.”  Caitlin says. 




“I’m getting a tattoo on my left butt cheek, a skull and crossbones. What do you think?




“I’m going to hang out with the biker dudes at Lefty’s Bar, wear skanky clothes, drink beers. OK?”



“What? You’re talking to a strange lady with a tattoo of a bike and a beer on her butt?” I say.


I know she wants something, to remind me of a promise I made …? I can’t remember. Oh yes, food. Children need to eat. Why?  Mine are old enough to own cell phones and operate heavy machinery, which means they are capable of opening a frozen pizza box and turning on the oven. They have expectations of me. I concede the mother’s job description entails meal provisioning, but the writer’s doesn’t.

I’ve crossed the great divide of the first draft and hit sixty-five thousand words. I am rounding the curve toward the end. The climax is looming, the bottom will fall out shortly after, followed by the build up towards the coveted words: THE END.

The swirl of the WIP’s words has me hostage. They clank and bang around me. They sound similar to pot and pans tumbling out of an over stuffed kitchen cupboard when they crash on a title floor. I want out of the center. I want the silence felt when standing at the edge of Grand Canyon, a deserted beach, or in my kitchen at dawn.

There isn’t a available seat in my mind. Between the characters, the filled pages, and the words waiting to make their appearance on the page, I struggle to find a closet to hide in or time to consider the fuzz in my navel (should I have fuzz or a navel worth considering). I yearn for silence. I’d like an hour maybe twenty-four, to think about anything except the first draft of the WIP.

But I can’t anymore than I can stop thinking about the next phase, the redraft.  I tell myself, finish the damn draft before you start thinking about the redraft. But I can’t do that either. It’s a mental condition. This is my second WIP but it’s the first time I’ve fast drafted. It’s not for the faint of heart or anyone with a demanding life (face it, that’s all of us who live the writing life).  The fast draft reminds me of the ‘I’ in ‘Me’.  There is only the story. It’s all about the story. There is nothing else. You commit yourself to the story once the first line takes shape. Mine is currently: 

 “Bronco Bill died today. The service is next Saturday. Do you think you can come?” Cha-cha asks.

The last couple of lines written late last night before the Macbook feigned tiredness: 

“You have more secrets, don’t you.” Lucille asks.

“I do, but they’re not mine to tell. Turn up the tunes, blast me some Patsy Cline, I’m feeling her rumbling up inside of me.”

I’ve another thirty thousand plus words before I type the last line, or even consider the redraft, the revision of the redraft, and finally editing of the revision.  STOP! STOP! STOP!

My posture sags. Breathing in early morning energy, I sprint for the closet I keep hidden from the characters, the WIP next steps, and life. Once inside I shut and lock the door behind me. My back flat against the door I swallow in the cool, dark quiet, and slide down the door until my bum hits the floor. 

It’s the only place I can escape from the manic state of the creative process and the blood rush of fast drafting.  The fast draft has it’s pluses, the minus are clear. It requires establishing a daily word count and a near term end date (assuming there is some advance story planning) a commitment not unlike a relationship, and the sacrifice of time.

Is it worth it? 



“I know, I know, you’re hungry. I’m on it. ” 

“We ate lunch already.”

“You did. What do you want then?”

“To tell you I love you, even though you’re a strange lady. What’s for dinner?”

Is it madness,  this quest to write the words we write?

Enhanced by Zemanta


I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

33 thoughts on “Is Anybody Home?

  1. Maybe, but if it is, I like the madness. I’m determined to get all my writing in when my daughter is at school starting next week. That way I can be fully here for her and my husband when they get home. We’ll see if my characters allow me to do that. They are demanding sometimes. 😉
    Kelly Hashway recently posted….Meet Rachel HarrisMy Profile

    • Kelly, that’s a great plan. As you know, I have to sandwich my writing in around the day job, so it’s less of clean break for me. I know you know this, but sometimes the best laid plans revise themselves in motion. Congrats on reaching a mom milestone,it’s a big one.

  2. Wow, Brenda, reading this left me breathless! I’ve never written this way, nor do I think I could with regard to penning a certain number of words a day. I admire you for taking the plunge!
    I also loved how you wove your children and their needs in at either end of this reflection. Ties it all up with a lovely writer’s bow!
    Blessings and hang in there!
    Martha Orlando recently posted…."We Are One in the Spirit, We Are One in the Lord . . ."My Profile

    • Hi Martha ( I am traveling so the blog is being slightly ignored, sorry for the delay). I like fast drafting. It gets the story down on the page in record time. The real work comes in the redraft. The hardest part of this process is not stopping to edit or when the story changes go back and retro fit it. The most I allow myself is making notes. My daughter frequently calls me strange lady to get my attention. Sometimes I am so buried I hardly hear a word.

  3. Lol! I love this. I’m glad your WIP is flowing nicely. Yes, I do think it’s a madness, or something like it, especially when you immerse yourself so deeply into it as you havae. Obsession, compulsion, possession …

    • Adriene – It is kind of crazy when you think about it. Other people go out and socialize, have a life, watch tv. It is an obsession. I didn’t write yesterday because we were on the road (bring daughter back to school) and it’s haunting me. Today is going to be a long day.

  4. It definitely is madness, B. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth it. I know it sounds like a wreck during the process, oh but what beautiful wreckage. (Of course, I can only call it beautiful on a good day … On other days, I just want to get the story out. Over and done with. Me and my reckless temper.) Glad your WIP is going so well, and that you have great kids who love you even when they don’t understand all the madness!

    • Hey, C… IT IS MADNESS. The writing is going very well, wish the agent hunt was. Painful. I have a hard time seeing you with an reckless temper, but then again, the writer in us has many sides. And yes, it is beautiful wreckage.

    • Cindy, they are clever, our kids. I know mine try to get me all the time. It’s worth it though, having them in my life has shaped who I became. I want them to know there is more to me that chief, cook, and bottle washer.

  5. I wish I was in that manic state. I only get there when I have deadlines, like for NaNoWriMo. Given all the time in the world I’m easily distracted and unfocused.

    Except I gave myself the month of August to get my first draft finished and I’ve barely written anything. I’m blaming my kids. I was surprised how distracting my daughters were this summer considering they are self-sufficient. I can’t wait for them to go back to school! Then some days it was their absence that bothered me more than their presence. I’m so confused…I’m going to go find a closet.

    • Astra, It’s a been a bit crazy the past couple of months. I don’t write much about the antics in my life but trust me, it’s been a roller coaster. I am lucky though, my family is truly supportive so long as I feed them. I don’t think it’s contagious, it has to be self inflicted.

    • Jodi – but it’s a wonderful kind of madness. It’s odd when I am not writing (which isn’t often). I feel unconnected to myself, as if part of me is offline.

  6. Is it madness? Of course! Show me any creative person who isn’t just a little bit mad or off-kilter-I challenge you! I have to keep telling myself, “If not now, when?” in order to get most anything done that isn’t the mundane, day-to-day of life. On the other hand, when my kids, who are well accustomed to leaving me alone, tell me I can ‘make it up to them another time’, it’s time to stop and put it into perspective. I love your first and last lines…keep going!
    mamawolfe recently posted….Friday Photo: Holding OnMy Profile

    • Jennifer – We have many faces, some we never to show, for fear of judgement or lack of understanding. The creative in us is a bit ‘off’ as you say, I’d not have it any other way.. And yes, I am. My mind is awash with ideas. I love this phase. It’s good and bad.

    • I don’t think I’ve captured it quite yet, June. It’s like love – describing that is still a goal. Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them always.

    • Awww, you made me smile, Ms. Bono. It was fun to write. Thanks much.. The kids and I drove to Santa Fe yesterday and I was telling them stories about you. They didn’t believe me about all our antics.

  7. We love to write. It’s in our blood. The passion for writing sometimes is greater than the passion for eating, breathing and sleeping. I love the feeling of words pouring out of me, when I can’t type fast enough because the words spring forth so quickly. A torrent of words. Oh, how I love the written word!
    Monica recently posted….Senator YentaMy Profile

    • Monica.. before I came out of the closet with my passion to write, I never realized there were others like me. At the time I didn’t know anyone who wrote. Most people I knew/know hate having to write. I never understood this.. now, I know there are others out there who share this passion. IT’ WONDERFUL!

  8. I think your madness sounds wonderful — I’m itching to get there. I’m in the in-between state–finished one novel and am just starting to think about the next–but I can feel something rumbling….
    Jessica Vealitzek recently posted….Read Some MoreMy Profile

    • Hi Jessica, it is a blissful sort of craziness. I am behind, of course, but only because I was traveling. I also love the rumbling stage.. the first few steps are always exciting since we never know where you are going.

  9. Ha ha, great ending Brenda.

    I loved them when they were little, but there’s nothing that compares to the daily give and take between parents and their children. Some of the things that come out of our children’s mouths are classic.

    Sure, she may be right about the “strange lady” part, but that’s part of the deal when you commit to a project as you have. After following your blog for a while, it may have even been true before you started work on this book. :)

    Enjoy the all-consuming rush of the world you are creating — one word at a time.

    Ray Colon recently posted….Somebody’s Watching MeMy Profile

    • Always, Ray, always. There isn’t a choice in my life. I have many competing voices for my attention. I’ve learned to block our everything when I am writing. It’s the only way to get the words on the page.

Comments are closed.