Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blocked

Blocked. Why am I doing this to myself? Or is it the universe at work? Is it negative self-talk, even at this stage of the game when I have graduated from college with honors and know better what I am doing? Or do I? I finished what I started--a Bachelor's of Arts) though I have yet to receive my diploma in the mail. (Not awarded in the leather cover handed out at the ceremony.) But much of my work was independent study. But going back, taking two years to get my feet solidly on the ground after years of floating through financial chaos, things I couldn't do anything about, well, it was worth it for that alone!

A writer friend or two has said the first novel is often autobiographical to a degree. I pulled it out, started to revise it, and felt...I don't know. Like I need to get a better grasp of things. The reader said it is an important story to be told, needs a lot of work. Perhaps the problem is interruptions. Or that I feel like I'm not paying enough attention to Mom. I am her primare caregiver. I never was any good at finding balance between my responsibilities for my family and obligations to myself. I have always pushed me and my stuff to the back burner to tend to "Someday."

Um...I'm running out of Somedays.

I pulled out the manuscript for the novel I was writing before I went back to school. The first four chapters were included in my creative writing portfolio. It IS good. IT needs to be written, too, but since Ramblings is the one I am shopping around, that's the one I should be working on. So, OK. Ramblings it is. And mental block, you must depart. I don't have time for you right now.

The reader said relationships needed more clarity. I remember that my thesis committee asked for the family genealogy to help clarify relationships. I've seen such family trees in complex novels I've read. Ah. So my novel also is complex. Well, that isn't really a surprise. Women's lives, generations of women's lives have been complex. Every time another human being or critter is added to her life, her life becomes less simple, more complex, yet she is expected to keep track of everything, keep everything on track.

Have I put too many characters in this story? Has each one justified its presence in the tale I am telling? Are there enough characters to tell this tale? Six generations of women, each formed by the times they lived in.

Alice Mary, b. 1872, age 19 when she had her first child:
Gabriella Rose, b. 1899, age 32 when she had her fourth child:
Mariah, b. 1931, age 22 when she had her first child:
Amaris, b. 1953, age 21 when she had her first child:
Unnamed, unmentioned, needs name, mention, b. 1974, age 32 when her second child was born
Anna, b. 2007

Alice Mary was born during the Victorian Era, not too many years after the Civil War concluded.
Gabriella Rose was born during the Victorian Era.
Mariah was born during the Great Depression.
Amaris was born as the Korean Conflict ended and post WW2 economics took off into one of the wealthiest periods in American history.
The unnamed daughter lived through the Economic Malaise of the late 1970s and 1980s which began well before she was born--the economic boom that was, perhaps, a facade for what was really going on.
Anna was born during the New Economic Crisis/Recession/Depression/Malaise. All mean the same thing: economic downturn...depression.

Need to know more about the barons, men like Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and the Rockefellers and their influences on society.

Amaris is central character.

The reader didn't understand why Amaris was so contemplative for so much of the story, but could suddenly make the decision to be gone, and actually execute leaving. I am curious to know how old the reader is that she wouldn't understand this. A younger woman might not. My daughter, Beth, is reading Ramblings for me so I can see what her thoughts, feelings and questions are. She said she can read it right away.

Points I want Ramblings to make:

* women haven't always had rights.
* women teach each other and pass their knowledge to the younger generations as they come along.
* relationships--connectedness--are important for well being.
* communication is vital; what happens when men get selfish
* emotional vacancy harms everyone: have to give, can't just take.
* the more things change, the more they stay the same.
* when the heat gets hot enough, it will blow the lid off.
* religion and faith: interpretations

So, the reader said she wants more from Amaris, her kids, and their life. She wants more story line, conflict; more economic tragedy--go deeper; more depth to husband's suicide threats. OK.

1 comment:

thegoodmoodblog said...

Jerri saying hi from Jay's writing group. I'm glad to have seen this, as there are some parallels in our writing. I've been writing about a lady I met when I was young. She was born into slavery and her life span was 110 years. I've had a lot of digging to do and still need to do more.

I've written about her some on justjera.wordpress.com