I’m in the process of writing a novel. It’s nothing really, something I refer to as “the silly little romance,” wanting to put no real pressure on either it or myself. I have been working on it here and there over the past few months, building up characters and plots until I reached a point this week when I realized it was time to print the pages and see where I was and what I had.
The fifty-some pages before me are a great…beginning. There are some wonderful moments, some weak spots and in general not enough of anything to be called a novel, let alone a novel I want to one day shop around…silly little romance or otherwise. So I have reached the point of my first rewrite, the first of many I am sure.
The fleshing out of sentences, paragraphs and whole pages has gotten me wondering one thing: can we rewrite our lives?
I ask this not in a revisionist history sort of way; our pasts are there, etched into giant stone tablets the size of Stonehenge impossible to move or alter. But just because the story of our past is there, does it mean we can’t flesh out the main character and the adventures (or misadventures) he or she has? Are we set in stone too?
I think about the girl I was once – the girl with comically thick glasses who sat, alone, on the curb during recess reading books – and the woman I am now, and I wonder what has really changed? Though I’ve grown, gotten contacts and gathered friends, I haven’t really waiverd from my original form. What has changed (and changed frequently) are the settings in which I find myself. I have lived and visited and evolved in all different sorts of settings and situations. I may not have changed the archetype of me, but I have certainly worked on fleshing out the person I want to be.
I think that most of us do just that over the course of our lives, but I also think that some of us don’t. I think that those who don’t write their own lives, but instead who stick with the first draft come hell or high water become bitter, judgmental and all around miserable. It doesn’t matter how much you read about other people’s lives (either historically or through fiction), if you don’t live your own adventure, if you don’t change your setting every once in a while, you can’t grow into the person you dream about being. And failed dreams can break a person in ways that rarely heal if a person isn’t ready to pick themselves up and move forward with their story.
And so, as I enter the first rewrite of my silly little romance, I feel like I’m going through a personal revision as well, that from dreamer to do-er. My setting has changed once again, this time from curled up in a cozy chair flipping the pages of some romance novel to at a desk, in front of a computer typing away, writing one of my own.