During the past two weeks and some days, no morsels of cheese, my favourite food, has passed my lips. Sad to say, unfortunately, my hunting and pecking forefingers have generated enough cheesy byproduct, of the written variety, to satisfy the most discriminating palate. I have created a range of “fromage” of a staggering variety, from subtle Boursin, tasteless dry curd cottage cheese to absolutely reeking Roquefort.
Poor Rumpole and poor brave souls who enter our house begging for a cup of tea. I serve up tepid cups, and insist on reading to any too polite to say “please, no” the latest installment of my cheesy novel, “The Completer Set”. I do preface boring friends and loved ones with my dramatic readings with a modest “cover your nose. My prose reeks of a cheese counter that has not been refrigerated for a week.” But, bless them, anyhow, they have listened, if not with rapt fascination, then with polite and patient utterings of encouragement.
I feel much loved and propped up in my delirious and obsessive attempts to wrestle a tale into existence. Rumpole has taken to calling me “Ernestine Hemingway”, and has kept me supplied with that Hemingway-an libation, red wine, to lubricate the Muse and keep her chattering inside my head with plot twists, character development, descriptions and dialogue with which to drag my story kicking and resisting toward some sort of completion.
To date, I have pounded out a bit more than 36,000 words, some with really creative spelling, and my story keeps on gathering steam. This morning, I considered just how soon this thing will peter out, and end. Is there some point where a writer hits a wall, and decides to end it all, no matter how abruptly, or does a writer manfully keep at it until the last bit of sense has been wrung out of the story and the ending arrives like a train chuffing into the train station and coasts to a stop?
I know, when a drawing or painting is in danger of being overworked. This writing business may be more like modelling with clay, like sculpting. Right now I’m piling on layers and layers, building up a core that has perilously bloated forms protruding from it, everywhere. For now, I’ll allow this excess; later will be the time to whittle away and pare down. But all this is very new to me, and I am amazed at the complexity of the task that awaits if I should decide, later to tackle the daunting task of rewriting.
Thank God for intimates and friends to keep one a realist, to help one not run amok with illusions about the worth of ones essays, in writing, in art, in living. I must say, that this whole experience has been mostly enjoyable, even when sitting in front of the computer with a blank look is all I could manage some days. The cheese pile is growing. “He said, she said” litters the ream of pages. Some of the really stinky passages are fun to re-read. I celebrate their badness. I actually managed to unearth this really awful stuff from inside somewhere. Go figure!
I will keep grinding away, sip my red wine in the evenings, and try to carry on the pretence that I am a housewife.
Rumpole deserves beatification after this NaNoWriMO month. So do Kay, Martha, BLW, OLPC, OCSA and PGT. Renaissance Man is convinced that I am nuts; and Glasgow Girl’s suspicion that I am a few cards short of a deck has been confirmed. Only Mousey treats me now as she always had – grabs the glasses from my face, tosses them away and roughs up my already messy hair. She sees it’s the same old me, leans her little forehead to mine and grins. She doesn’t care what I accomplish; I am simply Gramma. I’ll share a slice of cheese with her tonight at supper. Better a slice of cheese within the lips, than pouring out from under the fingers onto a page.