Ms. Donnelly Reads

"A Reader Lives a Thousand Lives" George R.R. Martin

So, I’ve been stalled with the manuscript writing for a while… It’s a sad state of affairs, to be honest. She’s inside- I can feel her moving around, but she goes dead silent, sometimes. I don’t want to force her out, she’s skittish… But, for real, it’s been over 5 years that I’ve been crafting her and I’m still at the halfway point of what’s considered a “novel” length manuscript.
Yesterday, however, had some tricks up its sleeves that I think put me back on the right path. I went to Hobby Lobby to look for stuff for my classroom- because what teacher doesn’t start looking for things for their classroom when there’s still a MONTH left of summer… Maybe I’m using avoidance to deal with my ish… I know… I know…

Cut to: Hobby Lobby. My kids are fighting over who is gonna push the cart, who gets to hold my hand, and some other stuff that I just tuned out. I love them. They’re precious treasures that light up my life and all that stuff… but, sometimes, I’m tired of their voices… especially when they’re in the vocal ranges of fighting and whining. I stop to look at a sign, and another one jumps out at me- now, it’s on the bottom shelf and I wasn’t looking there, but it was looking for me.
My character’s name is Frances, Frannie. And her twin sister is Ruth. Why? Because in the Book of Ruth, there’s this line that goes- “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” Pretty, right? Poetic… I’m not terribly religious, but religion has colored the edges of my story and it’s interesting how it’s shaped the characters. And guess what? THERE’S THE QUOTE- LOOKING AT ME FROM THE BOTTOM SHELF AT HOBBY LOBBY. I know, right?!
So, I text a friend, “Do you know how sometimes the universe speaks to you in strange ways that maybe you would have missed if it wasn’t pointed directly at you?”
“Yes.” She says, “Tell me more.” (Also, she knows my story and understands my struggle.)
So I tell her what I’ve seen and she tells me that’s literally a sign and that I need to get back to writing and buy the sign, put it above where I write to inspire me… So, I buy the sign. I forgot it in my trunk last night- I had class and didn’t get home until almost 11:00.
At 3:30 this morning, I’m awake. I have no idea… But guess what?! She comes back. I can hear her voice and when I close my eyes, I see her. Well, I got up and went to the computer. I pulled up my story and wrote. I didn’t reread anything. I didn’t edit it. I just wrote. Over 1,000 words! I can usually just get down a couple hundred, if I’m lucky. But, ONE THOUSAND?! Is it the sign? Or something else? Who knows…

But, she’s back and I’m writing. I’ve been tired, so I rested, but I’m not quitting.
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