By Louise Ure
Two weeks ago, at a signing at Denver’s Murder By the Book, I was blabbing about this new idea for my fourth novel. Verbal diarrhea, you know. The kind of totally obsessive rant that can only be brought on by a new book idea or a new love.
I felt that way about Kevin back in high school. No one else could have been as perfect. I thought about him all the time and saw signs and omens about “us” everywhere, from the name of his dog to the song playing on the radio. I drove by his house twenty times a day. I wondered what he’d had for dinner. He must have thought I was a stalker.
That’s the state I’m in now with this new idea, ready to shove away all other distractions and wallow — doe-eyed – in this new attraction. Snuggle up against its legs and practice writing our names together in a heart.
“We’re a greedy lot, here,” my signing partner Peter May said that night. “I’d keep that idea to myself unless you want it pinched.”
I shut up.
Ideas, like infatuations, don’t come to me easily.
I don’t have a shoebox full of index cards with pithy short story ideas on them. No file folder of convoluted plot twists guaranteed to get an editor’s pulse racing.
For me, ideas are a once-a-year phenomenon. But when I fall for one, I fall hard.
It was all I could do this morning to remember the protagonist’s name in my current work in progress, Liars Anonymous. Good Lord, I’ve got to turn in the book in two weeks; you’d think I’d know her name by now. (Dancing. Jessie Dancing.) I like her, I really do. But just like that perfectly good wool coat you’ve worn all winter, I can’t wait to shuck her off and stick my arms through the sleeves of that tough looking black leather jacket over there.
Is this part of the old adage about the grass being greener somewhere I’m not standing? Or is it, like love, the flush of first infatuation? That idyllic moment before you realize he has love handles and a two-digit credit rating.
I went to a debut author’s signing once, and at the end asked her about what she was working on now. “I don’t want to jinx it,” she said, then took another question. I might have been a little more gracious in my reply – saying something about the next one being a stand alone, or “I have an idea but it’s not fleshed out yet” – but I sure understand her rationale.
My mother has always said “It’s not real unless you say it out loud.” But if I listen to Peter May, if I keep talking it’s likely to become real for somebody else and not me. I may have to keep quiet for the better part of a year.
I’ll give you this: the title is Doing Hadley Time.
And now that I have a title, I’m anchored. I can open that New Blank Document and have at least three words ready to type. Doing Hadley Time. So it begins.
Lagniappe of the day: The Vernal Equinox is this Thursday, March 20, at 5:48 a.m. Among other festivities, it has been named World Storytelling Day, celebrated every year on the spring equinox all over the northern hemisphere. (The southern hemisphere celebrates it during the autumnal equinox.) Here’s to great storytelling, not just on Thursday, but all year long.
And Happy Easter to you all! Are there any special vernal equinox or Easter rituals you’ll be doing this year?