This blog post is coming to you from my new laptop! This is a hopeful sign for this blog, because my old laptop was experiencing problems, so I rarely used it anymore. My kids bought me an iPad for Christmas last year (best gift I have ever received ... well, at least since I've been a grown up), and I have used that almost exclusively since then. The only problem is that it was limited when it came to writing blog posts. For some reason, it just stopped advancing after it reached a certain point in the blog. I downloaded the blog app, but that didn't help either. The other thing that the iPad wasn't really good at was Word Processing. I got a keyboard that worked really well, but you cannot get Word on the iPad, and nothing else that I tried was really satisfactory for writing and word processing.
So about that book I keep talking about writing ... well, I haven't been. I confess now, I have not been working on it. For those of you who don't know, the book is a novel, as in fiction. However, it is about a mother with a daughter who was kidnapped, and I have been every which way around that. I started writing it from a completely fictional point of view, but I just couldn't do that. So there is much of Michaela in this book. Her character, and the kidnapping, and who knows how much else, are all going to be Michaela. With a different name of course.
Michaela is the beginning of the story, and she is the song playing in the background throughout the book. The primary plot, though, is about the mother's second daughter. And her character is based on my youngest daughter, Johnna. The theme of the book is the impact of loss on a family, and it has always been very interesting how deeply Johnna has been impacted by it. It is almost as though she suffered the greatest damage to the heart over what happened to Michaela, even though she was born five years after the her kidnapping. The character she inspires has a story that is completely fictional, however, something she and I have not had to endure and I'm sure never will.
This has caused me problems, however, because I have three other children in between Michaela and Johnna. In the story, there must be siblings, in order for the character to be who she is, where she is, how she is. But I can't include siblings that match the ones that really exist, because that would make the story too true to life, or make it seem too true to life. My mother's heart has kept going back and forth over this ground, wanting to be fair to everyone, to make sure every one of my children knows how special I feel they are, and that none feel slighted. I think I have figured it out now, though, who the other siblings are.
Anyway, between all this and the logistical questions of just how and where the story should begin and unravel, I have rewritten the first chapter about fifty times, and eventually just gave up. But now I have news! November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. This is an on-line thing where between November 1st and November 30th each year, all these crazy people sign up to write a novel of at least 50,000 words. This year, I have signed up. So wish me luck, and if you don't see me for awhile, you will know why. This involves an average of 1,600-1,700 words a day. It's not impossible, but it's definitely a job.
When this book is finally finished, I do promise you will get to read it if you want to. It WILL be published. If there are any agents or publishers out there who are dying for a crack at it, let me know. If there are not, I will publish it myself. That's a pretty easy thing to do these days, and luckily my work history has given me a set of skills that make it even easier for me than most. Well, let me put it this way ... you will get to read it if ever my inner editor finishes with it. It really would be so much easier to have a real editor. I think I'm a pretty good writer, and yet whenever I go back and read something I have written I find myself cringing as often as not. It's kind of like when you listen to the sound of your voice on a tape recording.
I can't finish this blog without acknowledging that tomorrow is November 1st. This month will mark 25 years since Michaela was kidnapped. It seems forever ago! In January, Michaela will be the age that I was when I lost her. It just stops me in my tracks. Where does it go from here? It is interesting that NaNoWriMo happens in November. At first I thought it was a terrible time, but I've decided it is not. Perhaps it is the best of times. Spending this month looking inside and trying to bring forth some meaning of it all might be the best thing for me.
I don't know at this point what I will be doing for the anniversary this year. My inclination is not to hold a public gathering. Of course, it never is, never has been. I do that generally for Michaela, so that she can see how people still love her and miss her. For me it often actually takes my attention away from what it is all really about, and I spread myself too thin trying to greet all the people I have not seen for a long time, or have never met at all, and of course I never succeed. Always afterwards I think about people who came and how I appreciate the fact that I did and wish I'd had a chance to speak to them and thank them. Anyway, I can still hope that we will get an answer between now and November 19th, so that we won't have to do anything on that day, so that all it will be is a bad memory. Like, for example, I could hear from Michaela....
Anyway, thank you all again for your love and support, and thank you, Michaela, for coming to this earth and for being the most beautiful little soul I could ever hope to have for a daughter. I love you forever, sweetheart, wherever you are.