I am beginning to feel my writer’s block break. I’m happy about that because I nearly said with all seriousness earlier this week that my novel was over, that I wasn’t going to do anything with it because I just wanted to write out a story and didn’t care if anyone actually saw it. That was a funny statement because it came not long after I dug the notebook in which the final revisions I scribbled out at 1 a.m. one night this winter reside.
For those of you who have been following my spotty updates about Brown River Blues since it began as a 25-part short story in December 2006 (that was set in the summer of 2007), this thing has gone from that short story to an expanded version of that short story to novel-length short story that had no real plot to warrant it being so large to me weaving a plot into the holes to me now reaching the final phase of reconciling the actions of the actual plot with the spirit of the original short story.
Overall, it was (is?) a fun thing to write. At one point, I created a companion piece for my own edification (that I regretfully deleted) to help me flesh out characters. There is an entire universe for this book, especially for Lorenzo Williamston, that dates back to Dec. 17, 1998. I drew a map of the city Blues is adjacent to back then. There are landmarks, civic buildings, historic sites, people and items fixed in our own global narrative that have everything and nothing to do with Blues. One of Lorenzo’s closest friends lives in San Francisco and plays the violin as a hobby. None of that is mentioned in my novel. Three main characters share a hometown and mention events in a short story I wrote in college and what I wrote out in 1998-99. It feels good to have canon, to know why Lorenzo does what he does in 2007 because I know what he did as 1998 rolled into 1999. It feels good to have great chunks of things that happened before, during and shortly after the action in the current draft of Blues that have been cut from the text that still exist, apply and happen because, although they aren’t there, they’re still there. Although I told myself that this tale of 2007 marks the end of me writing about Lorenzo’s activities (as far as anything that happens to him after August 2008), it’s good to know what he’s been up to for the past seven years. The same for the character of G Scott Smith.
It’s fun to talk about it at times, even if it is one-sided and no one, including those who edited an early draft, have seen what the actual plot is. I vaguely recall texting Mandy what truly happens in the middle of the night once but I might be imaging things.
I can’t remember the last time I wrote a post this long. This block is breaking.
* * *
I’m 90 percent sure I know what caused the writing process to dry up within me. Well, there were several things . I know what a large problem was but I’m too polite to bring it up. I do have a modicum of decency left. It’s even been a while since I’ve used a word such as modicum.
I’m musing on what is causing me to regain my power.
It’s been gradual. Back in December, I mentioned that I’ve been in the category of “fake it till you make it” for a good chunk of 2012. That was the beginning of the reawakening; I’m sure of it. As of late, I’ve been feeling the hunger of righteous fury. Lee mentioned today that he liked that I’ve been getting progressively cynical. Angry, cynical Elliott who bangs out blog entries well over 600 words, sends his car screaming into the night with the windows down and obscure music blaring and had delusions of grandeur he can barely call delusion because they’re true is the Elliott I know and love.
Hanging out with my fraternity brothers next weekend might be exactly what I need right now.
* * *
I got distracted for a bit here. I don’t think I mentioned it but Sasso works in Monmouth County, N.J., home of Bruce Springsteen and, of course, Asbury Park. During World War I, my maternal grandfather, who possibly was born in what is now Suffolk, Va., was stationed in New Jersey and two of his sisters lived in Asbury Park somewhere between the 1880s, when they were born (my grandfather was born in the 1890s) and the 1970s. I know we Elliotts are from the former Nansemond County and my grandfather was living in Hampton when he met Grandma. At some point, his two sister that I know of moved to Asbury Park.
I have a general idea of when they died and I possibly found relatives still living in Monmouth County. One of the sisters married a man with a very German last name so I think it’s safe to assume it’s my family I just found. When I wake up, I’m calling someone who might remember my Great Aunt Lillie and her sister, my Great Aunt Cora.
I’m visiting Sasso next weekend.
Once I establish these cousins, I’m moving on to tackling Grandma’s parents. Over the years, we keep getting her mother’s and her grandmother’s names confused. We have her father’s and grandfather’s down since her brother’s name is based on his father’s and at least one of my cousins is named after my great-grandfather (we were recycling names for a bit). When I visit my mom, my Aunt Betty says she was able to save some Robinson records from when her house caught fire.
Either way, I think it’s kind of cool that my grandfather was born at the start of Grover Cleveland’s second term and my Great aunts in his first and that George and Cora Elliott were born in either the 1850s or ’60s, possibly later as my grandparents had children late, hence the whole “I’m just turning 30 and my grandfather is way older than your grandfather” thing. My mom can’t top John Tyler’s grandkids with the whole “my grandfather was born in the 1790s” thing but we have three generations where there should be about five.
But I digress.
I need to go to bed so I can figure out a better way to start a phone conversation than, “I’m sorry to bother you, but are you related to? …”