My father always questioned his parentage, for many reasons. One was that his father told him when grandpa died, there was a letter in his safe deposit box that would clear up dad’s questions. But when grandpa died, that letter vanished. And so my father died with no resolution to the story I heard growing up. A few years ago, I decided the only way to lay that question to rest would be to answer it myself, and so I wrote a story with what I wanted that answer to be. Of course the story took on a life of its own, the characters ran away with it, and it became a much fuller story than I’d anticipated.
The novel was done before cancer, and had gone to Poisoned Pen Press, who had asked me to do some editing on it. Cancer and radiation brought that process to a halt for two years. I struggled through editing during radiation and it was the hardest writing I have ever done. Every single word was a battle. I think that battle was reflected in the writing because Poisoned Pen then passed on the second edit. And then when radiation was over, going back to that story, or to any story, was just too much. But as the oncologist promised me, writing is slowly coming back.
This past week I pulled that story out. I haven’t looked at it in over a year. I don’t even remember writing parts of it. I read it as if it was a book I’d picked up at the library, and immediately fell into the story and was swept away by it. As I read I did minor editing, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared and assumed.
I fell in love with that story all over again. The time of battling it, struggling with it are gone. I wonder now if the story was a symbol of the physical battle I was going through.
Either way, yesterday I spent all day with a tea-pot and an old friend, and came away from it for the first time in a very long time, feeling like I am, once again, a writer.