Yep, I'm Writing a Novel.

I'm writing a novel. Sorry if I'm repeating myself, but I just talked to a friend, assuming she knew that this was what I'm doing these days, and mid-conversation she said, "Oh, wait, it's a novel now?" Which made me realize I haven't been as out-of-the-closet on this as I thought I had.

So yes. Reserve & Green, which started out in my imagination as a musical years ago, is now living in my imagination, and on paper, as a novel. A novel-in-progress.

I write on paper first, and transfer things to the computer later, re-writing and editing as I go. Pushing a pen around on paper feels really different than typing, and makes my brain work differently.

I write on paper first, and transfer things to the computer later, re-writing and editing as I go. Pushing a pen around on paper feels really different than typing, and makes my brain work differently.

I've never written a novel before. I'm learning how to do it by doing it. In practical terms, what that means is that most mornings, I wake up and write for several hours. Also, I learn by reading. (Half of a Yellow Sun just arrived through inter-library loan today -- thank you Choteau Public Library!). Sometimes I review bits of helpful advice from smart people (thank you Ali!). And I attended a writer's conference recently, which I intended to blog about by now, but I haven't, partly because it feels more important to write than to write about the process of writing.

That being said, I do want to do some documenting of this process. Why? I think it helps it feel more real, more like something is truly happening, to share. Less lonely. Also, a lot of people have contributed money and energy and hope and goodwill toward this project, and I feel I owe them (you!) some info about what's happening with it (thank you Patronopolis!).

And then I think it's just part of my deal. Sharing the process, I mean. It's part of what I feel I'm supposed to do as a musician/writer/person who makes stuff. Because...it might help you feel more empowered to create, too. Because making, building, expressing, creating -- in words, in pictures, in wood, in stone, in song -- is crucial to feeling alive, to being human, and although we're bombarded with information on how to greedily and gleefully consume what other people make (Jiffy Pop, gasoline, Coors) but it's much harder to find any instructions or encouragement on how to make our own stuff.

I can't offer any instructions. But maybe watching me claw my way through this process will provide some sort of encouragement. To you and to me.

Go Fort Benton!

Go Fort Benton!

So...how to document the process of writing a novel? How to saw out a window for you, and put up some fluttering curtains that make you want to look through it? (If I don't add some window dressing you'll be bored silly, I promise. Who wants to watch someone sitting and thinking and scribbling and staring off into space?) As I looked around my writing nook the other day, closing up shop after a solid stint in the chair, I thought: maybe some of this stuff I have tacked up around me would be interesting to people.  Quotes and notes, artwork and ideas. Artifacts. Gleanings. Little things that shed some light on what I'm doing, and how I'm doing it.

Maybe.

Here's a sampling: