I never planned to write a novel, I swear. It took me over, and it wrote itself. I have loved almost every minute of the process, even the endless editing. I love changing it. I love finding the right word. I love figuring out how to take what’s in my mind and figuring out how to say it on the page. I love thinking about the reader and trying to see what I’ve written from someone else’s point of view. I can’t stop working on the dang thing once I sit down and get into it, even if it’s late at night. If I ever finish it, I’ll undoubtedly start another one. Am I crazy? Just look at Kristen Lamb’s post on getting published.
Here’s what happened. I went for a walk one day with my dog. We were crossing a bridge, and a youngish Native American man, with long black hair, was coming towards us. He had some kind of a weird gadget that he was leaning on. This gadget looked like a homemade walker of some kind: it had four wheels, and a bunch of bars sticking out from a vertical center pole in various directions and at various levels. With legs that didn’t seem to really function, and hips that dropped off to the side with each step, it seemed amazing to me that this poor man could even walk across the bridge. He had a fishing pole in one hand, and was appropriately dressed in overalls and a white T-shirt. He turned and grabbed the bridge as we approached, and gave me a brilliant smile as I passed, holding my dog’s leash tight to ensure that my crazy dog did not knock him over.
This man was so out of context – I have never seen a Native American on that trail before or since, let alone someone so crippled, but he was also handsome – that I couldn’t forget him. I turned the puzzle over and over in my mind, and quickly some other ideas began to mesh.
I thought I’d go home, write it all down, and forget about it. I guess not.