April 12, 2010
If Blind Love were 700 instead of 350 pages long, I'd still be working on it instead of sitting here, worrying about whether anyone else will think the book is worth reading. When I'm writing, I'm just writing, enjoying the way my characters talk and transcribing what they say and do. I sometimes feel like writing amounts to going upstairs to my study to play with my imaginary friends, which is a pretty accurate description. (About half the time, it's more struggle than play.)
Last fall, I realized--and had been told by a couple of people in my writers' group--that I was out of touch with Sophie, my main female character. So I did a strange thing. Sophie immigrated to the United States from Lithuania when she was ten, and I had seen an interview with Regina Spektor, a Russian-born singer who's about the same age and who came to America in the early 90s, as well. I downloaded a bunch of her songs and put my earbuds in. Then I let her lyrics, voice, and piano playing wash over me as I lifted weights or used the elliptical trainer or did my yoga stretches or cleaned up the yard or put away the groceries or fed the cats and/or my husband. After two weeks of ear-to-ear Spektor, I was suffering from severe repetune. ("She will kiss you til your lips bleed/But she will not take her dress off/America..." That one stuck with me for nearly a month.) Somehow, though, I had gotten back into Sophie's head. Don't ask me how, but I did.
Recently, when I taught a fiction workshop, I told my students that they had to live inside their characters' skins, and I told them about my musical interlude. They looked at me like I was crazy. I don't know. Maybe I am.
Still, I'm truly starting to miss Sophie and her male counterpart, Martin. But not enough to go back and add six more chapters to Blind Love or, God forbid, contemplate a sequel.