And so today’s moment of happiness despite the news.
It’s been with no small relief that am happily plunking away at the new novel-in-progress again. I started it on March 27, 2017, and I had the goal of finishing the first draft on the one-year anniversary. That’s fast approaching, and for awhile there, I didn’t think there was a chance in hell I’d make it. But now I think I might. If I don’t, it will be reasonably close, which is a far cry from the “I’m never ever ever going to finish this novel ever ever ever!” mode I was in several months ago. That was followed by the “I don’t think I’m capable of writing anymore” mode. And there have been several, “My god, I hate this thing! Why am I writing it?” modes. But right now, I’m kind of like a jet that is beginning its descent. I can’t see the runway yet, but I know my nose is pointed toward it. My GPS is on strong.
So there’s an iguana and a Gloria Steinem book with a photo of Gloria on the cover in my novel, and these two things (though I hesitate to use “thing” with Newt – he’s a he, not a thing) feature predominantly in my main character’s life. She talks to her iguana and to Gloria. Yes, really.
Because of this, I am doing huge amounts of research on iguanas and on Gloria Steinem. I now know more about both than I ever have or ever wanted to. I know enough about iguanas to know that I never want to own one, even though I love Newt as he appears in my novel. And I am also admiring Steinem more and more every day.
When I was in college, way back from 1978 – 1982, I had a favorite t-shirt. This shirt is appears in the new novel. It showed a fish flapping its fins valiantly from a bicycle seat and the bright red words above and below said, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” I didn’t know until working on this book that this is a Gloria Steinem quote. It came as a complete surprise, to me and to my main character. And now…I want the t-shirt again. My character has one. I should have one too.
Today, I was following along with my main character as she prepared for bed after experiencing a wonderful first date with a promising man. A man who owns six parakeets and has two ex-wives, one of whom is a ghost. Yes, really. And as she prepares for bed, she thought of a favorite Steinem quote that she used to pin on her bulletin board above her desk when she was an undergrad. Of course, I didn’t know what quote she was talking about, so it was back to Google. And that’s when I came across this:
“I’m not just a dreamer. I’m a hopeaholic.”
Wow, I thought. And then I put my main character to bed with her iguana so she could dream about a man with six parakeets. While she slept, I considered that quote.
I am a dreamer. I always have been. And despite everything, everything in the last few weeks, the last year, scrolling all the way back to the beginning of my life, I’ve been hopeful. It’s a conundrum, because I’m also a skeptic and these two types of thought are almost constantly at war within me. I sometimes hold skepticism in one fist and hope in the other fist and it’s like I have one of those old rubber exercise things that you were supposed to pull with fully outstretched arms. My arms are often outstretched and I have the appropriate grimace for such effort. But in the end, the rubber gives out and only one fist makes it to my heart.
The one that holds hope.
Thank you, Gloria, for giving me a new definition.
Hi. My name is Kathie. And I’m a hopeaholic.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.