Henry is finishing up his month of summer camp, and meanwhile I've been writing nonstop and feeling increasingly weird as I forget to do regular human things like bathe and seek out sunlight. I met my new downstairs neighbor the other day and before saying hello I circled twice and tried to smell her hair. Now the landlord's mad at me. How else would I know whether she is Friend?
No, but seriously, I said hello like a regular human. I even asked her afterward, "Was that like how a regular human does?" and she assured me I did very well. Why am I going on about my downstairs neighbor? I have spoken with several other humans. I say hello to the guy next door who's always outside smiling at people (what is he planning). I exchanged niceties with the pharmacist when my prescription was not yet available. I even had lunch with Liz and I didn't once bark or hide under the table! I do things!
Henry actually had to come home for a few days. He got a case of swimmer's ear that wouldn't go away with the usual ear drops, and the camp infirmary wanted him checked out by his doctor. It felt like cheating, and it was hard to return him. As soon as he went back to camp the infection reoccurred, so we got more prescriptions sent over and now I'm getting daily emails about the "slight redness" and "mild swelling" alternating from one ear to the other. He's not in pain, though, so you know what, camp nurse? I think you need to stop paying so much attention to my son's ears. I think you need another hobby and/or fetish. (Dear nurse, if you're reading this, I am glad you're paying attention. Never mind me. I am silly.)
As you may or may not know, depending on how much attention you've been paying around here, I've been writing a novel. I'm in the throes of what I can confidently say is a draft that is almost near what the final product may be. And yet it might be light-years from that. I have not a clue. It's easy for me to help other people with their work and yet I am utterly lost in the morass of my own. Is this is part of the process? I feel like the story is a constantly moving target and every time I think I have the main theme nailed down, I edit accordingly and then I realize, no, the focus should be on this other thing, and then I think I've made it all hopelessly complicated and I should put it in a cupboard and set that cupboard on fire and bury the ashes and then salt the earth. NOTHING SHALL GROW WHERE ONCE THESE WORDS EXISTED.
When Henry was home, he advised me to finish this thing, right quick. "Just pick one of your drafts," he said. "You've worked hard enough. It's good. I looked at it." My son, I should add, has written two novels (I am not kidding you about this; I would never joke about such a thing) and has two more in the works. His creative output puts mine to shame. Parents of smaller children: know that someday in the near future, you may find yourself realizing that your child is your role model. It is strange and exhilarating.
Anyway, he's right, in some respects. I need to stop noodling, bite the bullet, share this imperfect thing with a few trusted readers. Otherwise I suspect I'm going to keep getting weirder and farther away from the end point.