The power of the pen, or keyboard, can shape a being, change the course of one’s life, or erase the past and create a new one. That is a lot of power and control, and I have to admit, I am having issues with it. As I sit ready to continue Frida’s life, on page 2, I feel such a sense of responsibility. What has she done these past few years (5 have passed) and what does this year hold in store for her?
This is a bit like giving birth to an adult. I am guiding her through life, helping her make decisions that I hope will be wise, and am there for her in her time of need. And of course, not judging her when she screws up.
Is she fictional? Yes and no. She has come to life for me. I see her face, know she has feelings and desires. So to me, she is very real. So I feel a great deal of responsibility to Frida.
Here is a bit of a bite from Chapter 2 of The Other Side of Normal.
I met a guy on one of those trips to LA. Nothing to really write home about. Just a guy in a punk band and we dated for several months. He had his own apartment with his older brother, which I thought was very grown up. We went to a lot of shows, drank too much, and smoked a lot of pot. There was a lot of lying to my mom at the time: Just going over to this and that girlfriend’s house for the night. When I turned 18, he showed up at a small party some friends gave to help me celebrate. But that was it. No card. No present. Just a cigarette in his mouth and ripped jeans.
Draft 2 or 3 or 4, so has been completed of the first book. 15 chapters. 52,000 words. Next step… uh, not sure. Beta reader? Enter in a writing contest? Harass my friends to read it again? Start on book 2, which has been started, but barely. Ideas? Stay tuned!
I opened my eyes to find them standing in front of me. The chattering girls, who I thought had left, had grown silent, leaning on a car near the club’s entrance, surreptitiously watching Tom and Zeth.
“It’s time to go in,” Tom said. It came across as an order.
I smiled at Zeth, who I hadn’t seen in some time since we were both busy with school. “How’s it going, Zeth?” He mumbled some sort of affirmation and shyly looked up. For a smart guy, he sure was insecure. He gave Tom a look out of the corner of his eye, checking to see if he was watching this exchange. He wasn’t; he was looking toward the girls. Zeth smiled back at me. “And here we are in yet another club,” I said, pushing off from the wall. My jeans and sweater stuck to my body as I slowly walked toward the club. Tugging at both, I tried to get some air circulating between my skin and clothes to dry my sticky body. I didn’t care if they saw my discomfort, or if the under-age punk girls, who were more appropriately dressed in tank tops, saw me pulling at my clothes. Facing them as I walked by, I pushed at my damp bra with my thumbs. The girls were whispering: “Isn’t he in Crud?” They were trying to be cool, but they were still teenagers. I smiled at the girls, and in a whisper of a voice, I said: “They both are.”