By Donna Delgrosso
The other day, we finally gave my son’s hockey equipment away. The puck, hockey sticks and goal went to a neighbor’s son. When he came to the door, he was grinning from ear to ear and he was so excited that he practically jumped out of his shoes. I watched his blond hair bounce up and down under his red baseball cap as he and my husband carried everything across the street to a new home.
It was a bittersweet moment. Even though I was ready to let it go and am happy to see a friend take them over, I was still a little choked up. Another small part of my son’s childhood was gone. I loved playing street hockey with him. And the memories I have of the time I spent running after the puck on flat feet or on roller blades will never fade.
Those feelings are happening a lot lately as layer by layer he sheds his little boy ways and grows up.
On that same day, a friend remarked that she’d finished a manuscript. I know she’s happy that it’s completed but she also gave me the idea that she was a little sad to see it go. After all, she’d spent several months getting to know the characters and now, they were gone. I began to think again about the parallels between my writing and life.
I think every writer I know, talks about their characters as if they were living, breathing beings. Let’s face it… they are! They wake us in the middle of the night with a problem so big that we have to write it down. Or- they just won’t let us get out of something unless we do it their way. We spend hours, days even months getting to know them. We’ll talk them down from a conflict and sit patiently at the computer so they can do the same for us.
I have to confess- I don’t know that feeling of selling a manuscript yet. I’m still writing my first novel and have been at it a while. But I’m trying not to let it bother me- I’m having too much fun! It’s so cool to see a story develop in front of my eyes and to watch characters that I created change for the better. Conflicts erupt in front of my eyes and I have to choose to resolve them or make them even worse. Then I have to figure how to get out of the mess.
I’m now thinking of my manuscript as my hockey goal. I want to see it in a new home- on a shelf in a bookstore- and I want to see someone get excited because they’re holding it in their hands. Just like my neighbor’s son was about his new stuff.
I know I can do it. When I began writing this article, I asked some of my friends their feelings after they had sent their manuscript away. I was so surprised by their answers that the article took on a life of its own. So I decided to write another about them. I’ll include them next month.