I’m supposed to be writing a memoir. After writing a couple of pieces in a Freefall workshop with Barbara Turner-Vesselago, one of the other participants generously offered to take my manuscript to her editor at a well-respected publishing house. I have about a hundred pages written now and am slowly compiling memories of my time with Osho, an Indian mystic who had ashrams in India and in Oregon.
Recently, I had a lively conversation with a judge I met at a wedding, who is about my age and was intrigued by the story. She asked me some excellent questions – similar to the ones that fuel the story, but with a twist that set me off in a slightly different direction. She wanted to know what was the difference between her and me; what was it in me that chose that path, and what might have made her choose that path? Judge or disciple? Law school or commune? It was a fascinating conversation for me, because she was so open, so genuine in her interest… it made me go deeper into the question of motive.
But I haven’t written any more on that subject. Instead, I have been playing with the idea of roadkill, and what would it be like for a woman to have the job of scraping roadkill off the asphalt? Who would she be? What would she want? Who are her friends and what are her issues? And I’m off… 1300 words so far and I am loving the story! I’m just in freefall, not sure where it’s going just yet, but I’m getting to know the crusty Brett, my protagonist, and her sweetheart, James, a gentle guitar-playing younger man who works nights at a grocery store. And their devoted Smooth-haired Fox Terrier, Rimbaud, who won’t eat dry food.
I just have to go for it. As Barbara Turner insists, I have to go where the energy is, and it is most certainly with this story of dead things and babies and freedom and power.
That makes three things on the go – wrapping up the details for Weather Vane and offering it to agents and publishers, the memoir, A Safe Distance, and Roadkill…
Next weekend I’ll be able to hunker right down, as I celebrate my birthday by writing up a storm at Barbara’s Freefall workshop in Newmarket. Even though I generally consider being told what to do about as much fun as having pins stuck in my eyes, these open workshops set me in motion like nothing else does. I’m pretty good on my own, but production is exponentially increased when I write with others in a contained situation.
So off I go to scrape things off the road and turn over guts in my bare hands.