For the last few days, Olivia (my ten-year-old daughter) and I have been sick with the latest round of the loveliness that is The Flu. I stayed home originally to take care of her and then to take her to the doctor, but by the time we made it in, she and I were vomiting in complete synchronization. There was such clarity to it, I thought we might suggest an event to the Olympic committee, however that would have meant tearing myself out of bed, which by 4pm was impossible.
Instead, we laid in bed, sleeping while the tv played random HBO and Showtime movies throughout the day. I woke up around 4 am on one of these mornings to New Moon from the Twilight - The Emo Years series.
For those who haven't seen it, it's this very moody misty gray to-doing about very moody misty gray teenagers and a few people posing as teenagers. I watched with my eyes half-caked with sick crust and a haziness to the world around me. Funnily enough, between where my little sicky head was and what was being projected, everything felt like it melded together in this druggy melted collage. In this dreamy state, I let myself listen and experience all things that are Twilight without pooh-poohing it, as I might have done if fully awake. And as much I want to hang myself for now being forced to say so, I found the answer to one of my problems in my novel.
I have had difficulty getting the actual story line of my book written out. Partly, I've had this problem because I've forgotten what it's like to be 17. So much happened in my life since then - not to mention there's a lot that I don't want to actually remember - that I haven't been able to grasp what it was like not to have to work, to wake up and only worry about how I was going to wear my hair (and making sure I wasn't repeating myself over the last 2 weeks), to be excited about seeing that guy near my lockers, that guy that laughed the way that made me want to dance and vomit all at the same time. I just forgot the simplicity and the complexity of it all.
One of the things I also started with was an old trick of mine - writing backwards. This isn't where you go all Beautiful Mind on the world and start writing gibberish that only makes sense to farm animals and Hawking's nurse.
Basically, I start with the event where I wanted to end up, then I go backwards to the chapter before it and write that. Then the one before that and on and on. It's a trick my uncle taught me about mazes. He said, "Start at the Finish Line. Know where you want to go and then figure out how to get there by going backwards." It works every time - in mazes and in writing. I'm not kidding. Seriously, never challenge me to a maze race on a restaurant placemap - I'm that good.
Anyway, so it's a start. A good starts...