Another book has been put to rest. I dotted the last i and although I’m not quite sure whether or not I crossed all the t’s, I was glad to push the send button and put it in my editor’s hands. It was only two months late.
I have not had a book work me quite so hard. But this one was a challenge. And then just like that it wasn’t and I have a dead Asian woman to thank.
For weeks I found myself unable to connect with the characters. I knew who they were, knew their story, could tell you what they liked and didn’t but no matter how I tried to twist and bend the fantasy that was their romance I could not find anything loving about the words. Then the Asian woman began to haunt me.
I knew her many years ago. She was kind and good natured with a gentle disposition. She and her son owned a restaurant that I frequented at least once weekly. The woman was a phenomenal cook! I had a favorite meal that wasn’t on her menu but that she gladly made special whenever I wanted. I was craving that meal as I agonized over not being able to pull together the story I needed to tell. Three restaurants later and I found the perfect little Thai bistro that satisfied my craving. And that same night she walked into my dreams.
For two nights straight she came to talk. About my story. Interjecting her opinion about the direction I was trying to move it in. It quickly became apparent that she didn’t agree with how I saw my tale playing out. For two nights I listened, then I’d wake up and try to go back to doing what clearly hadn’t been working for me. I found myself frustrated and scared because the words simply were not there and the ones that were weren’t working. I actually called my agent in tears, feeling like all was lost.
The Asian woman came back a week later. For days she was just there, saying nothing, just watching me agonize over what I was trying so desperately to control. Then late one night as I drifted off to sleep she admonished me for wasting her time. Then she asked me why I was finding it so hard to let go and let God. I woke in a panic, drenched in sweat.
That next day, I sat in seclusion for hours, the memory of our time together playing over and over again in my head and then, just like that, I let go. I finished that book one week later, loving everything about the story that I was finally able to tell. And just like that the Asian woman was gone. She's been dead for a few years. Breast cancer. I hear that her son continues to run that little restaurant.
Sometimes I need to be reminded that what I do and how I do it is never about me. I write because I love it but I know that being able to write is a blessing. It’s a gift I don’t take lightly. And my best writing comes when I let go and let God.