Onto the Page (35)

The third assignment I write for the MOOC doesn’t sing, but I feel better about it than the two that came before. The requirements are specific, a scene with three female characters with a fourth who comes along to “thwart their desires.” It’s the first time in this class I’ve had “real” characters come, and the fourth woman who arrives doesn’t behave at all as I’d imagined. It’s been a while since I’ve had characters acting on their own, and I love that part of writing fiction. My scene with these four women happens on a train, and the next assignment needs to take place after a catastrophe of some sort (either internal or external), so the train lends itself to that. I lie in bed this morning dreaming up bits and pieces of how I might continue with these women on the train. I see the two-story house in Oakland, watch Rachel working in the garden, hands in the dirt. And it comes to me that dreaming up fiction might be just as compelling as worrying about money or family, might take me away from being present with the same obsessive flair. But what a way to not be present. Dreaming up fiction beats focusing on my fears, no contest. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled to have fiction floating through me like this. It makes me giddy and grateful: for this free class, for my lighter work load, for the cooler mornings that let me lie in bed getting to know these women in my head instead of having to be out early sweeping the patio, feeding the birds, before the brutal heat descends. The southern sun sends blocks of yellow light across the wall of my room. I love winter mornings in this trailer home, look forward to a long string of them with childlike glee. All in a rush I feel the longing for all the years I might have been churning out fiction. I glimpse how it could feel to be old and know I have characters in my head who I might never get down on paper. I tally up the years. Could I have 30 years still ahead of me to write? More? I want them, every one of them. So I will need to make good use of them. I will need to savor every character, relish every story like a good, rich stew. And bring as many of them as I can onto the page before I die.

2 thoughts on “Onto the Page (35)

  1. Ha, I was just making a list of all the places I want to visit and wondering if I had as much time left :) Wishing you enough years to fulfil your writing dreams Riba. Wishing us both….enough.

  2. Oh, yes! May our lives be long and healthy, Madhu! May you get to travel to all the places and take all the photographs and tell us all about them for as long as you want to! Maybe even time to return to your favorite spots, time to luxuriate in them. Maybe that is at the heart of it—not rushing through our days, yes? Savoring each day, each place, each story, as it unfolds. But I am still a fan of the idea of getting many good years to savor! Hee hee hee. Thinking now of all these lovely years ahead of us, like the way a long summer day can seem to go on and on, filled with so much and no hurry. :)

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