A couple of weeks ago I chucked out the novel I was working on. Sort of. That thing is digital. I’ve emailed it to myself, I’ve saved it here and there, it lives in my computer. I can’t get rid of it. If ever want to pick it up again, it’s there. I never want to pick it up again and it’s there. I did, at least, get to throw the hardcopy into the recycling bin. It was symbolic. Sixty thousand plus words, see you later. Not.
There’s liberation in walking away.
I got lucky, I guess. I have a brand new idea, a new story to write and that makes ditching the old novel easier.
This morning I was talking to my youngest son, Stephen King Junior, about writing. I said I was hoping to make some sentences today. Two of my sons are into writing and it’s cool having people in the house to run ideas by. SKJ is only eleven but he knows about story. Punk.
I said, ‘you probably make sentences in your sleep.’
‘I do,’ he says. ‘Good ones. Better and more than yours.’
Like I said, punk.
If this kid thinks he’s a writer, he has a long way to go. He’s terrible at second-guessing himself, and his recrimination is nowhere near good enough.
Stephen King Junior is inspirational and terrifying depending on my mood. I’ve written about him before wondering how he does it, how he plunges in without turning and turning and turning over ideas until he’s sick. I used to be like SKJ, excited by a blank page. Now that cursor flashing, waiting, impatient, well, it’s intimidation.
Everyone needs to be good at something, to have something that they do that makes their heart sing. Problem is the thing you love doing can also make your heart cry like Hell. You feel you’re your best version of yourself when you’re at it and if it’s not working, then who are you?
Stephen King Junior is at a new school, he is developing new relationships and he says his new teacher is the best teacher he ever had.
Feeling better, more secure, hasn’t stopped SKJ being a fink to his brother. And he’s still moody. He’s difficult to tell off because he’s an insular guy and if he’s ‘in trouble’ then he turns inward even more, makes himself small and shrinks into a corner. He’s still overdressing, he seems to identify as the too-many-clothes kid. But more than that, he is Stephen King Junior.
He makes sentences. He makes them when he’s down, he takes off into his brain and writes about wolves, and Godzilla, and dinosaurs, other worlds, and life and times underneath this world. And when he’s happy he makes sentences. His verbs crackle and his dialogue pops. His settings are rich, his atmospheres are intense and he’s starting think about the interior lives of his characters – he’s writing heroes with problems.
SKJ had a rough time, he’s undergoing a rebuild, I think he knows it. Not everyday can be gold, he’s gonna get homework, and Maths is still Maths, but he has ideas and sentences and being better than me to keep him going.
Write away, Stephen King Junior. Remind Mum of what writing can be.
nah, it’s the beginning