I’ve been working on a book for a little over a year now. And I’ve discovered that, in bookland, a little over a year is scarcely long enough for the larval stage. My manuscript is developing and evolving, yes, but apparently it’s still a slimy unborn caterpillar. Meaning, we’ve got quite a few developmental stages yet to go before it’s a big white moth flitting with its own two wings.
I did pass through a noteworthy stage recently, though. This being the stage in which I discovered what the thing is actually about.
See, I thought my book was about loss. I started this blog a few months after I began the book, so it all makes sense: This Life After Loss. Thematically consistent. Loss, death, life after, so on, so forth.
Actually, nope. Turns out, the book is about wandering.
Wandering? WTF do I mean by that?
Well, it’s about not knowing. It’s about not knowing what to do with yourself. With your life. And wandering because of it.
It’s about being an aimless twenty-something trying to find some path in the wide-open freedom of millennial adolescence. It’s about that shapeless life phase when you’re done with school and you’re trying to figure out what’s next. It’s about the winds blowing you in one direction, then the next: Here you’re enlisting in a political campaign! Here you’re trekking to Uganda to save the world!
It’s about trying to form some hard and fast identity. It’s about trying to prove that you’ve got your shit together!!!
Except, c’mon, you don’t really have your shit together, because, like, who does?
And then – yes – it’s about loss. Twenty years old, college wasn’t working for me. So naturally I went into landscaping instead. I mowed wobbly stripes on customer lawns. I scraped dog shit from the underside of the mower. And I stashed away my paychecks for a backpacking trip across Europe. Then Dad brought me to Logan Airport. He stood in his pleated slacks on a patch of dingy grey carpet, car key in hand. I kissed his whiskered cheek. For a moment we embraced. Then I turned away. He stood on that patch of carpet, and with his shiny hazel eyes behind silver-rimmed glasses, he watched me go.
I never saw him again.
So, then, quite a bit of wandering, after that. You get my drift.
And that is what the book is about. In case you were curious.
Though apparently we’re still in the larval stage here, so all of this is subject to change. And, I’ve learned, that's totally okay.
P.S. I mentioned a little while back that I’m moving into a barn. It’s happening over the next few weeks! So it’ll be pretty quiet here in my little blogosphere. I’ll be back in September.