After a crazy whirlwind of high school graduation parties and book completions and house guests and weird monsoon rainstorms, this summer has suddenly turned quiet.
My daughter's on the verge of heading off to college. And I'm on the verge of starting a new book after wringing myself out writing the last one. At the moment we're both in a holding pattern. Hovering between adventures.
Quiet. But with different definitions of the word.
My version is the lazy, borderline boring kind of quiet. I'm doing stuff like vacuuming. Making squash balls. Posting goofy pictures of vegetables on Instagram.
When I teach writing workshops, I like to talk about the Hero's Journey. If you're not familiar with it, the Hero's Journey is basically the narrative structure for nearly all stories. Our hero starts out in the ordinary world--either perfectly happy to park out there forever (see The Hobbit. Jaws, etc.) or itching to get the hell out of there (Wizard of Oz. Star Wars).
Either way, something happens.
The hero gets a Call to Adventure (Gandalf comes knocking on the door; a shark eats a swimmer, a tornado blows the farmhouse away, storm troopers murder the family) and off the Hero goes on the adventure.
I'm greatly simplifying here --because sometimes the hero refuses the Call for a while or it may take a few attempts to get moving-- but most stories don't get cooking until the main character crosses the threshold and goes off-- finally!--on the adventure.
Readers and moviegoers tend to get a bit antsy when the writer holds the hero in the Ordinary World for too long. We want to see the hero in some real action. Not smoking a pipe in the hobbit hole or ticketing cars on Amity Island or singing on a fence post in black and white Kansas or farming and fixing droids for Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.
Maybe I am getting old. I know my next adventure's going to start soon enough. Meanwhile, I am content to kick back and wallow around for a few moments in my little wedge on the verge of it.
Look! An eggplant!