Take the Plunge! Join Me on My First Novel’s Wild Ride

As Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway would put it, at long last, I’ve finally taken the plunge. I’ve burst out of the business world and into a full-time creative career.

I anticipate a wild ride, and I’d love your company.

After my toiling away on my first novel for twelve years, my editor has, as she puts it, “taken away my paintbrush.” I’m ready to go public and find an audience for The Fourteenth of September, a Coming of Conscience novel that follows a young woman in the time of the Vietnam War who must make a choice as fateful as that of any draftee. Think—if Tim O’Brien in the “On the Rainy River” section of The Things They Carried had been a woman—that’s the emotional intensity I’m going for. Like most debut novels, it’s based on personal experience. I’ll be sharing more on my story, what I mean by a Coming of Conscience novel, and on the plunge into the creative life in posts to come.

For now, I’ll simply say this:

There have been challenging obstacles in the novel’s development, from objections to the subject matter (“Vietnam? Not relevant!”) and its female point of view (“that era belongs to men”) to struggles to get out of my business head and into the mind of a writer (“don’t say ‘positioning statement,’ say ‘why you write.’”) There’s no question the ride will continue to be bumpy and, I trust, fascinating.

I plan to use this space to share ideas I’m considering, hurdles I’m facing, insights I’m realizing, books I’ve been reading, and what I’m learning from other writers I admire. I hope you’ll follow me as I progress to publication and well beyond this first step.

And, I do consider this first novel an initial step. It’s the time of year for resolutions, so be my witness as I plant a stake in the ground and declare out loud that I’m planning to be a career writer, not a one-hit wonder (or single-try stumble, as the case may be).

After thirty years of telling other people’s stories, I’m champing at the bit to tell my own.

My formal writing will always be an intimate story that takes place on a large canvas—war or generational change. In this and all my writing I’m a pattern identifier and a dot connector, and feel strongly that nothing is irrelevant for any reader—age and gender restrictions be dammed! 

Less “officially,” I plan to comment broadly.

I am, above all, a questioner. 

For instance, why do we say Vietnam is old news and yet regularly race to the cinema for the latest WWII movie? But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

With this new plunge into blogging, I promise to be honest (or to admit it if I’m not), provocative (or it’s not worth your time), original (I trust), succinct and humorous when I can.

I’m full of ideas, and firmly “in the zone,” as we say about the month-long afterglow of a writer’s residency, but I want it to continue. Sharing and hearing back from you will help me tremendously as I determine what type of blog content sustains both you and me. 

So bottom line, as we say in the business world, I realize that I’ve taken the plunge, but really I’m asking you to take one, too. 

Please join me.  Take a chance.  Everything is Interesting.  Nothing is irrelevant.

What a lark, as Mrs. Dalloway would say, indeed.