You Aren’t the Book I Married Anymore

courtneyfall for anything, writing

Maybe you guys remember back in June when I wrote a blog entry about how the new book I was working on came to be? “Imagine A Book,” I called it, and I talked about how differently it was conceptualized than my other books and how I’d written a bunch of pages in a really short amount of time and I loved those pages and those pages looked like this happy-happy-joy-joy:


It was sort of obvious this was the giggly post-introduction period. This was me and my manuscript over the awkward date stage and moving steadily on into eyebrow waggling territory. By the time I reached one hundred pages–in a relatively short amount of time, amazingly enough–we decided to get married and went on a honeymoon and stuff.

But by the end of June, the honeymoon was over. It was sort of like realizing the person you’ve married has really awful table manners and smells really bad and thinks women belong in the kitchen and how is it possible that you did not notice this before you agreed to take on its last name? I discovered my marriage with my book was built on nothing. So by mid-July, I scrapped all the pages and decided I needed to rethink our commitment to each other.

“Book,” I said, because I guess I am still using lame relationship analogies, “I am taking a break so we can save this marriage.”

Ideally, this is where the soul-searching begins. You’re maybe supposed to step back and be willing to take your fair share of the blame for this failed union and then figure out how you can fix it or if you can fix it. Except I couldn’t even consider either possibility, because I was really resentful about those lost one hundred pages. I felt betrayed. Like, REALLY resentful and betrayed. How could something that felt so real at the time turn out to be nothing in the end? My wasted love.

I gave that book my heart and soul and it was like, “Whatevs.”

So I threw all its clothes out on the lawn.

We stopped speaking to each other.

But I like to keep my word document perpetually open when I’m working on a new project. It is a constant reminder that I need to work (especially when I am slacking off), and it also saves me precious few seconds when I’m ready TO work. I mean, let’s face it. Clicking the MS Word icon and waiting for the program to start is a pain in the ass. Saving time means you are HIGHLY EFFECTIVE WORKER or something.

Anyway, that opened and forever minimized word document haunted my soul. Every so often, I would look at it and be transported back to happier times. I missed feeling it (uhm, you know, like in my heart). I was angry that it all turned out to be a sham. I was angry we had stopped communicating. I grieved accordingly and found myself in this strange place where I could not let the book go, but I didn’t want to work with it anymore. On paper, it was The Next Thing. But the reality of the situation was, I wasn’t doing anything. Nothing. I was adrift on a sea of broken dreams and whatnot.

(Seriously though, I honestly felt like had no sense of purpose. That is not the most enjoyable feeling when it centers around the thing you love more than anything to do. That is one of the worst feelings of them all. Just so you know. Mark that down. LACKING A SENSE OF PURPOSE: ONE OF THE WORST FEELINGS OF THEM ALL.)

A couple weeks ago I was contacted for a blog interview by a very awesome person for a very awesome blog (I will let you know when it hits the internets!). The interviewer asked me what the hardest challenge was in working on this new book that I had been talking about. I stared at the question and then I stared at my minimized word document and then I made a decision. I couldn’t lie about the situation. To myself or to that awesome interviewer. The fact of the matter was, I was not going to work on that book anymore, and my answer said as much. And then I maximized the window. I gave myself permission to give it up. It was very freeing.

“Book,” I said, “I am divorcing you. And since I had an airtight pre-nup, as you know, I will be keeping everything.”

And then I closed the window.

And then I opened a new one.

I had something else I was planning on working on before I finished Some Girls Are, and went back to it. I quickly managed about fifteen pages of it within a relatively short amount of time, but unlike before, I wasn’t really into it. Not 100% into it. I liked the idea–I still like the idea and will return to it one day–but I just wasn’t there. I wasn’t into this relationship.

Still, I thought I could make it work. This new book was a NICE book. It seemed to be into me. Maybe if I just stayed in it, I WOULD eventually get there. I was probably being a little gun-shy, after having my heart stomped on from my previous relationship, you know?

“You are probably just being a little gun-shy after having your heart stomped on from your previous relationship, you know?” My girlfriends told me in sympathetic voices, as they listened to me cry bitterly to them over coffee.

So I continued to work on this new thing. And then, one night, a line came to me. A different line. It had no place in the book I was writing…

… but the book I had given up.

“HAH, HAH, HAH!” I thought. “THAT IS HILARIOUS. Trying to win me back, right? Go to hell, book. I remember all that pain you caused me.”

And then I got flowers in the mail. And sometimes I would wake up at night with this book staring at me, but by the time I turned on the light, it was gone. I guess my book really missed me.

Which is understandable because I am so foxy.

During the day, I would sit in front of my computer and stare at the place in my taskbar my book used to be. Sarah McLachlan would whisper her lyrics in my ear. I remembered the good times that we had. How we let them slip away from us when things got bad. How clearly I first saw my book, standing in the sun. When I felt it’s warmth upon me, I WANTED IT TO BE THE ONE.

Actually, the truth is I was revisiting Dragonette’s greatest hits and all I could think was, wow this song is hot and awesome it makes me want to write that old book I gave up.

So I took a deep breath. I confronted the truth inside of me. And I opened up my old book.

And I typed that line that was floating in my head.

“Book,” I said. “If we are going to make it work this time, we need to communicate better.”

“I know, Courtney, I know,” it said. “Let’s never fight again.”

Then I opened up the other window, the Book 3 replacement, and I said, “Look, Joe. We’ve had fun, but you deserve someone better and I just found out you are a werewolf and I really hate werewolves.”

And then I went back to my original Edward. I mean, my book.

Anyway, the point is. Actually, I don’t know what the point is. Maybe it’s if you love something, let it go? Or maybe it’s that all relationships take a certain amount of effort and talking stuff out or something? Or maybe it’s just that I really like to ramble. THE POINT IS, I am now back with my old idea again and I am not sure we have the healthiest relationship ever, but by golly, WE’RE GONNA TRY TO MAKE IT WORK THIS TIME. Who knows.

But I have rediscovered my sense of purpose and this makes me very happy.

Also, I am never getting married.*


* Unless, you know. Jeff Goldblum asks.