Sunday, February 16, 2020

On painting and powerpoints and psychopaths

The painting was of the master bedroom, a room I should have worked on first, because of how dark the paint was on the walls, a navy blue that might look okay in some rooms but only if there's a lot of light, and there isn't; never mind the peeling paint, the cracks.

I want something white, bright, pristine. Still, it takes a weekend just to gear myself up to start, move the furniture out, dust, vacuum. I have a million other things to do. Two school presentations to plan, five writing classes. My writing partner has a book due and she needs a last-minute proofread of her out-in-October novel Five Total Strangers, and that takes precedence over everything.

This book is good, like falling under a spell.

A page turner, but I try to read it slowly to catch mistakes. There aren't many, only a handful of typos, a dropped word here and there. The story, which I already know from numerous brainstorms and discussions, still surprises me and sucks me in. A teen girl is desperate to make it home to her mom, but a snowstorm grounds her plane. Her seatmate offers a ride and our MC pushes aside her doubts (she doesn't really know this girl; the weather is bad, there will be three others in the rental car--strangers-- and everyone is kind of weird... ) The trip goes downhill from there, everything that could ever go wrong on a car trip,

plus, a psychopathic stalker. I love books like this. Meanwhile my own book is stalling,

right on the verge of the climax. In a Rom Com, that's the break-up, and even though everything in this story has been leading to this point, now that I'm here, I'm hesitating, churning, rethinking the scene. These characters that I’ve grown to love over the past few months are about to turn on each other.

Suddenly, it all seems silly, what I’m doing, writing a book instead of painting my bedroom, instead of working on my school presentations, instead of marching in the streets. I don't know why we-- any of us-- do the things we do.

Because... it's what we do?

I send a corrected copy back to my friend, slap a second coat of paint on the bedroom walls, finish up a school presentation, take a moment to double check my voter registration, dive back into my book and watch the pretend people I love break each other's hearts.