This is only peripherally part of the Grief Handbook, as it’s about writing, and about grief. But I didn’t feel as if it belonged to the greater project. Instead, I wanted to chat a little bit today about my writing, and about my grief, and about how the two of them have and haven’t intersected.
Yesterday, I reached a Turning Point in Marvel Among the Demons. I have reached the end of what I’m happy with, manuscript-wise, which means instead of revising, I need to start writing seriously again. I have been easing back into it with my revisions, but revisions are a different beastie than writing itself. There’s a basic plotline to work with, and now, I’m abandoning that plotline for Something New.
I love both aspects of the writing process. I love writing, and I love revision. But see, sometimes I love the taking it apart and putting it back together again differently, the Major Revisions, when you rip the MS apart and then hack and slash and rewrite until it only faintly resembles the original plot.
I did this with Becoming, my first novel, which shares only the character’s first name and the title with the original MS I wrote in 2003. The basic understanding is still there: the Last Prophetess. But I moved it from contemporary New Orleans to 1885 England, and it became less of a romance story and more of a romantic Victorian urban fantasy.
But it’s a scary prospect, too, because I’m standing on that precipice of Writing Seriously Again, and that’s something I haven’t done since Mom died.
I broke down crying yesterday.
We were having some friends over for an anniversary celebration (the husband and I have reached 10 years of marital bliss!) and I was making dip. See, my mother would buy these dip packages in bulk for me in New Orleans, and ship them to me in Indiana. I LOVE them, my friends LOVE them, and you could only find them at this one, now sadly closed, small local grocery store in NOLA. I have a bag of them, one of the last things she gave me before she died, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.
I started sobbing. For various, unrelated and related reasons, but I couldn’t stop and I found myself on the floor of my kitchen, crying over onion dip.
This is grief. Six months later, after the death of my mother. This is where it begins. With the smallest of details. The remembrance. The sorrow.