Well, I got a few pages…

Well, I got a few pages written; I've laid down the main argument, such as it is, so I actually think I can pound through the rest tomorrow. We'll see -- good or bad, it'll be finished by the end of the day. And then it'll be done, and I'll be done for the semester.

That's sort of my philosophy for another project I'm toying with undertaking. ("What, another project?!" "Yah, so what? You gotta problem with that?" :-)

It's all Tim's fault. Though I could probably blame M'ris a bit too. These hyper-productive people who keep churning out novels here there and everywhere -- they make me jealous. And then I start thinking, well, if I want to write a novel, why don't I just write a damn novel? I'm getting all tied up in knots about my thesis, and how it has to be good -- not just good, but really good, ideally heading towards great. Because there's maybe an academic job and maybe a literary reputation riding on your first serious book. And the whole thing, while it interests me, also scares me. And I've been fighting a deep desire for months now to just write a fun novel. Maybe a kids' fantasy novel kind of thing. With a little grace and beauty, but mostly a rollicking good time. Adventure. Derring-do. Princes and princesses. Perhaps even a little good and evil -- we'll see. A little bit can't hurt you, right?

Not committing yet, you understand. Just rolling the idea in my hand. Thinking about my protagonist. Trouble is, she already has a name. Saraswati. Swati for short...or sometimes Sara, depending on who she's talking to, or who's talking to her. She's a good girl, or she tries to be. But it's tough; people expect a lot from her, and everything they expect sounds so damn dull. Good grades in high school. No boys. Home right after orchestra rehearsal to help take care of her aged grandparents who live with her and her folks. She's got little sisters too; she's supposed to be setting a good example. Her middle sister's running kind of wild; everyone's worried about the trouble Anjali's getting into. They're so relieved that they don't have to worry about that kind of thing with Swati -- she's such a good girl. Got really high SAT scores; she shouldn't have any trouble getting into Chicago. That's where everyone wants her to go -- her parents are both doctors at the hospital there. They could keep an eye on her if she went there; they wouldn't have to worry. And Swati doesn't want to worry them, but sometimes she dreams of just going away -- to New York, or California, or even overseas, to London, maybe. And even if she does get good grades in biology, she's not sure she wants to be a doctor. It's so grubby and smelly and sad. Her folks are tired all the time. And they're always always always talking about their patients. It makes her tired too. She runs around trying to do everything for everyone, and she never manages to get it all done quite in time -- oh, she does the important things, but it doesn't leave any time for her. She gets her sisters ready for school in the morning; she's been making their lunches for years. But somehow there's never time to do more than iron her uniform and quickly brush her hair; no time to go shopping at the mall for little butterfly clips like the other girls wear, or more interesting shoes. You can do a lot with shoes, even if you have to wear a uniform to your Catholic high school. Not that it matters; there's only one person at school whom she might want to dress up for, and she'd never have the nerve to approach him. He's smart, he's funny, he's always surrounded by his friends, always going to parties when she has to get her sisters and go home. He sits directly behind her in orchestra, playing clarinet to her flute; sometimes Swati imagines that she can feel his breath on the back of her neck. But she knows it's just imagination in the end...

See? With a girl like that, how can I leave her in such sad straits? I think I have a moral obligation to give her at least a taste of something else. Something different, something exciting. An adventure, a quest -- with a great big prize sitting at the end of it...

It's a temptation, it is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *