He said, she said, and all that cheese…

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.

10 Responses to “He said, she said, and all that cheese…”

  1. pmousse Says:

    Well done… and how great that you have so much support.

  2. Deborah Barlow Says:

    This posting, a kind of meta on your process, felt real and authentic to me. I like many of the analogies you have chosen to express the visceral sense you have of where you are. Thank you for sharing a small part of what is happening under the surface of this ambitious writing project.

  3. ybonesy Says:

    building up a core that has perilously bloated forms protruding from it, everywhere

    I laughed out loud at the vision of your novel become a bloated thing. Also, I loved Rumpole’s name for you, Ernestine. And the fact that he’s playing along and keeping the liquor flowing.

  4. suburbanlife Says:

    pmousse – I am one lucky crone – have to keep pinching myself! G

    Deborah – thanks for your words of encouragement. it is amazing just how much permission I have given myself to write so much so badly, with only little scraps that have that special glimmer. I think in any creative work one has to live with the crap that emerges and excise it or use it if it does have potential to add life to a project – taking the risk is what is a fine experience.

    Ybonesy – there should be someone to come up with a Word Watchers program to help undergo a sensible diet to avoid all this word bloat. I sure could use the guidance. 🙂 G

  5. AnthonyNorth Says:

    Luckily for me, I was married with a couple of children before the writing bug got to me. I’ve never stopped writing since it did, but I’ve a family that keeps me severely anchored to the ground.
    Sometimes cruelly 🙂

  6. Smiler Says:

    I for one applaud your efforts. Now you’re giving me the idea that I should start inviting guests more often so I can treat the to my stinky Camembert.

  7. Galvanized Says:

    I am so excited to read the finished product! Hurry, hurry! 🙂 Writing a book is also a dream of mine. With your ability to describe things so well and make me actually feel like I’m in the story, yours is definitely a book that I will buy just for the escapism! I’m proud that you’re doing this, and Rumpole sounds like such a supportive husband.

    And sorry you can’t have cheese as often. But life has many, many other pleasures…like WINE — a rich, dark merlot! I am just about to post an article about that, too.

    Glad to see you’re doing well!

    Melanie 🙂

  8. suburbanlife Says:

    AnthonyNorth – sorry I took so long to reply to you. Have been puttering away in purplish fashion – God bless my anchors – sometimes there is kindness in their cruelty – don’t you agree? G

    Smiler – thanks for visiting and congrats on your finishing NaNo. Well done! G

    Melanie – Hi – it’s good to hear from you! Man/woman??? gad – this writing business sure is grueling, and once it gets under the skin one just has to scratch and keep on scratching. This first draft is so full of things like the loveinterest of the main character growing two feet in two chapters, the narrator going from strawberry blonde to brunette without benefit of hair dye, and characters who morph aliases I’ll be scratching my head over to figure out in the coming months. No sex whatsoever in this blasted book, but on the upside there is a good Obituary. I still have a murder to carry out, and it can’t be too messy, and a death-bed confession full of operatic revivals from death’s door – you know, when after the heroine has exsanguinated she keeps popping up to deliver yet more last words. Pray for me and my sanity, please. G

  9. mariacristina Says:

    Your cheese has set in a beautiful way. I sense a different kind of flow and depth in your words, something different since your nanowrimo experience.

    Will we get the chance to read some excerpts?

  10. suburbanlife Says:

    Christine – just for you, I shall select the excerpt that really reeks – I have a veritable groaning table of varieties to choose from. Thanks for your supportive comment. 😀 G

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