Monday, April 9, 2012

Writer's Block--When Your Imaginary Friends Don't Want to Play

I’m about 13 scenes away from the end of my novel Losing Penny…thirteen scenes…about 130 pages. It sounds far, but it’s not. If I had the time and attention I could hammer it out in a week. Plenty of time, no attention.

I spoke in church yesterday—Easter Sunday, the Atonement of Christ—not an easy-peasy speak off the top of my hat sort of thing. (If you’re interested, you can read the talk on my family blog

An interesting thing happened—I shared the pulpit with the bishop who served while I swas Relief Society president—so, about six years ago, we shared the pulpit on a number of occasions. That’s totally off topic and I’m not sure why I’m mentioning it, when I’m supposed to be writing about how I’m not writing…

So, what does the fact that I spoke in church yesterday have to do with the fact I’m not cranking out my thirteen missing scenes? I’m speaking at the University of Santa Barbara’s Institute of Religion on Friday. Last night I had a dream that I was lost in Santa Barbara and I needed to find the institute building AND write my talk in less than fifteen minutes. So, I took the hint and this morning I wrote the talk. It’s all done. If I get lost, at least I’ll know what to say.

Also, I’m thrilled to be included in a group of 12, 13 if you want to include me, talented writers who’ve created a group blog. Today was my first post on Authors of Main Street (here’s the link and I’m completely distracted by all the action happening on Main Street. We've had more than 500 hits since we opened shop last week.

Also, I went to the gym with my teenage daughter and took a ridiculously hard kick-boxing class. The dynamo leading all that kicking and boxing looked about twenty years younger than me and she kept complaining about her advanced age. An hour later, and even my fingers hurt.

Taking stock of the right here and right now—

Talk written, check.

Main Street blog posted, check.

Killer kick-boxing, check.

The scene where Penny decides to publish Drake’s Viking book…not happening and I’m not sure why not.

Usually when this happens it’s because something plot-wise is off track, but I’m not finding it today. Here’s where I left off—if anyone has suggestions or questions, let ‘em fly. I’m going to rest my weary kick-boxing fingers.

From Losing Penny

“Magdalena was a five foot ten, one hundred and thirty pound mistake,” Drake said firmly. “My mistake with Blair was…monumental stupidity.” He paused. “I’m not going to be smart with Penny.”

Andrea smiled.

“What?” Drake asked. “You don’t think I can be smart?”

Andrea’s smile broadened. “Oh no, I just think it’s funny that someone so incredibly brilliant can sometimes be so incredibly stupid.”

“Thanks,” Drake said. “You’re right. I’m stupid when it comes to her. I really don’t know what to do next.”

“Blair loved you.”

“Yeah and I blew that.”

“But before you blew it—you must have been doing something right.”

Drake thought back to the early days when he loved Blair and she loved him. Before he met Magdalena at that stupid sabbatical. The sabbatical of stupidity. Had he ever loved Magdalena? Or was she a convenient excuse to distance himself from Blair—avoid any real emotional detachment? As long as he had a dream of Magdalena then he couldn’t really love Blair, couldn’t commit, couldn’t start a marriage or take on the responsibility of a family. And Blair wanted a family. She wanted children. No wonder she didn’t want him back.

“What did you do to make Blair fall in love with you?” Andrea asked.

Drake frowned at Andrea. “We wrote poetry together.”

Andrea laughed. “I’m pretty sure Blair didn’t love you for your poetry.”

“What do you mean?”

Andrea looked away, fighting a smile. “I’m just pretty sure that Blair didn’t love your poetry.”

Drake’s mouth dropped open and Andrea must have realized how badly she’d hurt his feelings, because she rushed in with, “Okay, try it. Take Penny somewhere romantic—the beach at night, or the old stone church and ask her if she’d like to hear your poetry.”

“She doesn’t really like poetry. She reads Snivel Drivel.”

Andrea brightened. “I love Snivel Drivel!”

Drake nodded. “You’d probably love Penny. Everyone does.”

“Everyone loves Penny?”

“Everyone who knows her.” Including two million blog followers, who knows how many television viewers and one crazed stalker.

“I think you’re exaggerating. She has to be a little unlovable.”

He thought of the dirty socks in the middle of the living room and shrugged. “Yeah, I guess everyone has their flaws.”

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