The House Mouse
First was the mouse. Goddamn f#*^ing aggresive, frenetic city mouse.
He was not supposed to be in my apartment. Apparently he felt the same about me
For a city mouse, he wasn’t that bad. No rat-like tail, no huge teeth, no squeaking. He was just goddamned frenetic.
I was trying to finish the book. I had retreated to a quiet ground floor apartment, away from family, work, all responsibilities. Nothing between me and the book.
Except the goddamned mouse. Just when I would get the whole of my energy completely focused on the screen, nothing to interrupt me, out would come the mouse. He’d scurry across
No, not that one. Just an ordinary regular Catalonian house fly who took up residence in my otherwise perfect
There was no other way. Lay it out scene by scene. Walk all over it.
I imagine those lost words at the spa.
Soak away, my lovelies.
May we meet again some day.
A room of my own
A room with a view
A mountain fountain
Perfection incarnate for the home stretch. A little balcony, a small table to write, another to hold my books for midnight flashes. No phone coverage. Limited Wifi (enough to say hello, not enough to make it worthwhile to go online for any period of time). Cold, cold, clear water gushing straight from the hillside.
The sky was so vast, it could barely hold its own blue.
Four days of bliss to restitch the book. Excising excess prose. Beautifying that which stayed.
Nourished for the better part of a week with homemade bread and jam, fresh sheep cheese, organic vegetables, light pasta salad, hearty Spanish wine, local chocolates and great conversation and spirit from the incomparable Nuria F. A transplant from Barcelona and rare breed who runs a B&B because she loves the joy of sharing her home.
I let go of all expectations. I told myself that whatever I did, it would be great. And it was. I left with only two chapters to go. .
I could ride the Irish Rails...
All day. Really. They’re comfortable, and today, even quiet No stag/hen parties, no blow-up dolls, no families, just tired vacationers.
And the view. The view. Stunning, just stunning, coming up the coast from Wexford, rain pours in , and then it’s gone, suddenly we’re on the track past Dun L. and the mile long flats, and into Dublin.
I have four days to finish. Not a problem. Just have to stay out of the pubs until I’m done.
And then I get to the hostel. Is this color coordination good karma, or what?
Strangers on a train
The view from DC to Baltimore is hardly anything like the Irish coast from Wexford to Dublin, so this is why I I am huddled in my seat, hunched over the book. Final stretch here before it goes off to one last reader for proofing and then back to the agent. I dump my very fat backpack on the seat next to me for protection; the train is empty anyway, so I’m sure no one will want that seat. I have one hour to finish this chapter, and my time is running out back home as we slide into school, soccer, crew, homework, etc.
Wrong I am. At New Carrolton, a woman, about my age, comes down the aisle, looking straight at me, and sure enough, points. I heave my pack to the floor without looking up. I don’t mean to be rude, but I DO NOT HAVE TIME for conversation.
Rain is hammering the window, all the more excuse to huddle over my book, for twenty minutes I do, but the second I come up for air, she says to me: “are you writing a book?”
I pause. I’m not sure how to handle this. But I answer politely, “Yes, I am.”
“Hmm, that Jake character—he’s pretty busy, huh?”
I’ve had people peek over my shoulder, inquire gently as to what I’m working on, but this is the first time I’ve ever had a stranger not only admit she was looking, not only admit she was reading, but then proffer an opinion.
I know the answer, but I can’t help myself. “Were you reading over my shoulder?”
“Yes, I was, and you are going to sell that book.”
Now I’m interested. Does she have a direct line to Random House? If she does, I’ll take it. “How do you know?”
“I just know. It’s good. You’re going to sell it.”
Me, I’m back stuck in the mire of edits, is it good enough, will the agent take it, if so, will she sell it?
And yet, my stranger on the train is so sure of herself. “There;s a lot of steps, I’m not so sure right now.”
“Just put the thought out there, and it will happen. What’s your name? I want to buy that book when it’s out.”
MY first sale!!!
I get her email and name, turns out she’s a prayer. She and her friends get together and pray. She tells me she will pray for me, and that she can already see it in the shops.
I know that when I do sell it, she’ll be among the first I send a thanks to.