I have to learn THE SAME THINGS over and over. This is not a metaphor or a deep insight; it’s a sad truth. Especially with writing novels. There is no carry over from one book to the next.
Take today, for example. Go on, take it! I kept putting off my shower, using it as a reward for hard work accomplished. We Vernicks are hosting a whole mess of people for Thanksgiving and our house has gotten a little over-cluttered. Understatement. And so I’ve been trying to get little writing tasks and big house cleaning tasks done, along with the myriad errands and details of daily life. With the promise of a hot shower when all was done. Or maybe when some was done.
I was vexed–vexed, I tell you–by the fact that I needed this THING to happen in my novel. And my ideas for making it happen were so pathetic. I felt bad for me. And I wanted a hot shower.
Because it is COLD. SO COLD! I’m not complaining, exactly, because I think all weather complaints should rightfully go to Buffalo, New York at this point in time. But I WANTED that hot shower, and kept pushing it back.
So when I finally took it, moments before starting dinner, I had worked for it! And it was good! It was so hot! And while I was thinking of nothing more complicated than rinsing shampoo from my hair, a sentence came to me that very matter-of-factly explained how that important thing would happen in my novel. I didn’t even ask my brain to think about that!
I have never been able to find the exact quote, and I’ve probably mentioned it before, but the director Mike Nichols once said the greatest thing in an interview. It was something like this: “You know what’s so great about your subconscious? It has the same sense of humor as you.” I know what he means. My own personal subconscious sometimes delights me. It can be also be so thoughtful, on occasion, when considering the plots of my book. And it is very, very partial to hot showers.