From Non-Fiction to Fiction...and Back Again

I have been long absent from these boards. In my last post, I told of working on a novel, "A Good Plague." It has occupied the better part of my time for more than a year. The manuscript has taken some dizzying turns. After a particularly intense period of working on it almost non-stop for 48 hours, taking out some 15,000 words, totally rewriting the opening chapter, and writing about 10,000 new words, I fell asleep. When I awakened, I opened the file and started working again, so intent on what I was doing that I failed to remember I hadn't saved the file to my external hard drive for four days.

You already know the next part. My beloved 14-month-old Mac died, and took with it so much of my work that I was rendered numb and speechless for days. Since it was my eighth Mac, and I had never lost so much as 1 byte of data on any of them, I had grown careless. I lost two screenplays, one complete and another of 58 pages. I had written them, but I had never bothered to print them out or save them elsewhere.

I lost every piece of poetry I had ever written. A few weeks prior to the crash, I'd found an old box in the garage with all my high school and college journals, and even a few from my early married years. I carefully transcribed all the poetry and essays onto my Mac, and then threw out the originals. It's all gone now. But I figure if Thomas Carlyle could rebound from having a maid mistakenly pitch into a fire the only copy of his hand-written first volume of "The French Revolution: A History" and go on to write it again from scratch even more brilliantly, the least I could do was go back to the 65,000 words I had saved, and start again.

Here's the weird thing. I have tried it and tried it and tried it, and found myself staring at the computer mourning my loss rather than starting anew, so finally, I put the manuscript aside. Now I am working on a comprehensive book about women and heart disease, and my agent is eagerly awaiting my proposal. So here I am writing non-fiction again, and wishing I could shake out all the loose screws rolling around inside my head and finish that novel. I know where I want to go with it; I know I don't want to attempt to recreate all those changes I made in that fevered 48 hours, but at the moment, I cannot make myself work on it.

So, that's what is going on with me. How's everyone else coming along?


P. S. - Oh, and I have lost 45 pounds, so I need to replace my "Fat Pat" picture.

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