“A few hours in the ICU radically and rapidly resets your perspective. Seven years ago my biggest problem was a bad date. But now, as I held his warm, unresponsive hand, the monitors’ beeps circling us both, I knew that my life before today was just an extended adolescence.”
These are the first lines of my novel, at least in its current form (the second draft, waiting to be edited again and again and again).
At first I was worried that I was writing a romance novel, but now that I’ve completed two drafts, I can see that I’m writing a coming of age story about a woman whose coming of age took decades instead of years. As I edit, I’m gaining perspective about her and why her story (inspired by my own story) is what I have to write now.
E.L. Doctorow said, “Writing a novel is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
My character is in a fog and I’m in a fog as I write about her. Somehow that is fitting. For me, coming of age as a writer means embracing the fog, accepting that I’ll always feel like I’m seeing through a glass darkly and taking each next step forward anyway. Still, even in the fog, the process is a gift.
I hope that your life is full of gifts this holiday season, even if you are in the fog too!