Fortunately, this month’s theme is all about books and reading, so I naturally wrote on completing my first manuscript.
Here’s an excerpt:
A few weeks ago, I turned in the manuscript for my first book to my publisher, Finding Holy in the Suburbs. I suppose there had been others — scrawled words in composition notebooks and spiral notebooks, abandoned stories where I gave up writing and thought I could only write about writing, and a PhD that approximately 4 people in the entire universe will ever read all the way through (2 of which examined me on it, 1 was my supervisor, and 1 was, of course, me).
It’s an odd sort of pleasure and pain to write a book. I began with pretty words and sentences, intoxicated by the blank page, by all the stories that needed telling. By the very art of stringing words together to affect transformation. But morning after morning, at 5 a.m., I’d wake, drink my tea, and stare off into the middle distance for awhile. I’d plop down on my green couch, curl my legs under a blanket, and begin the writing. It didn’t dazzle, not usually anyway. But I showed up, day after day, when the world was dark to write.
Somewhere along the way, it became less about crafting sentences and more about utility. Less about beauty, more about substance. After all, I just wanted to be helpful to my reader. I imagined my readers sitting in their granite-countertopped kitchens, eating takeout and drinking a glass of wine after circling the suburbs in their SUVs. They’d stare at their noodles, slurp them up with a fork and bemoan their children’s chaos in the other room, the latest headline on the TV, take a big breath, and get to helping with homework. They were ragged, worn, busy, supposedly full, but empty. It’s the sort of discontent I felt from moving from place to place — from trading mountain vistas for ocean ones, for trading city for suburb, for trading a long-standing community for a new one. I understood it.
- I’m thinking of starting a writing workshop online. Comment below or email me if you’re interested!
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