Friday, March 30, 2012

Switching Gears

By Kim

Untitled landscape by Carl Ahrens
As some of you know, I completed The Oak Lovers last week. I expected to feel emotional as I typed “the end” and I did – for about ten minutes. Carl and Madonna’s story has haunted me since childhood and I’ve lived it for years. Now it’s over. I imagine I feel much as Madonna did after she lost her precious invalid. Free of a giant burden, but too loyal to celebrate and too numb to mourn. Exhausted.

Shortly before Carl died, he commented to Madonna that it felt “wonderful to be empty.” I have a new understanding of what he meant now. The only voice in my head is my own. It’s refreshing, though it may take me some time to adjust to being alone. When I do, I suspect another voice will invade, another story will demand to be told. Such is a writer’s life.

My manuscript is now in the hands of critique partners and beta readers. The “hurry up” has turned into “wait” for the first of  many times on the path to publication. I've no shortage of things to do during my downtime. There's a website to update, agents to research and queries to write. The dreaded synopsis lurks in my dreams, as do the inevitable rejections.

I know better than to look at my novel now. What gleamed last week will appear tarnished, even rusty. I would attack it with literary Brasso and rub away the stains that give the story heart. I would polish it to death.

So, I wait. I clean my house. I dig into my to-be-read pile. I tinker on my website. I open Query Tracker and take a deep breath.

I listen to the silence.


  1. "Shortly before Carl died, he commented to Madonna that it felt “wonderful to be empty.” I have a new understanding of what he meant now."

    There's something really powerful about this, Kim. I got pretty sick when I was nearly done with the first draft of the trilogy. And being the overly-dramatic writer, I remember thinking, 'I hope I don't die before I get this story out.' When I finished--kooky as it may sound--there was definitely a feeling of relief, almost bordering on, 'Okay, whatever happens now, at least I got it down.'

    I know the feeling on the hurry up and wait during submissions. Thankfully I have a wonderful manuscript to read while I do my waiting. ;-) As Depeche Mode put it: Enjoy the silence.

  2. Kim, thanks for posting this link on Facebook, where I check in 1 to 2 times per day to see what friends & writers are doing.

    This waiting for readers time can feel edgy. This is why I started writing short memoir and short stories. They keep my mind off the marinating and stewing over my novel drafts.

  3. Thank you, Vaughn! Yes, I can imagine you would feel sick as you hit the end of the trilogy, and you aren't alone on your thought either. I had many times I worried I'd die before I typed the end. I guess we are both overly dramatic.

    Hope you enjoy the manuscript. ;-)

    Oh, and I love Depeche Mode!

  4. Good for you, Kim! Finishing a manuscript is a huge accomplishment.
    Best wishes to you. I can't wait to read it when the time comes.


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