Literary Lothario

Earlier this year, I was passionately in love with my middle grade novel. We were together every day, often long into the night, mutually basking in the glow of each other’s fond admiration.

Then, we hit a rough patch. She got some attention. Things looked promising for the long term. I developed expectations. But she faltered, then failed. So I ditched her. Sorry.

And so I was single again. I had options — the sequel to the middle grade, or maybe, just maybe, this sexy new manuscript I had started during NaNoWriMo.

It called to me in the night, edgy and full of appeal, rife with longing and promising of secrets. So I slipped into a new relationship and even started a screenplay version of the story.

But then, trouble. Characters behaved erratically, refusing to be reasonable. I admit — I got controlling — trying to force them into who I thought they should be. The story rebelled; I offered a fresh start. But we began to grow apart.

And today, I opened a file, something I’d written a few years ago but recently freshened up the opening for a fellowship application. I read the first 18 pages and didn’t change a word. It was perfect! Beautiful! Tantalizing.

And so I began to plan our time together, makeovers, meaningful conversations, pillow talk.

But the old story nipped at me. Not fair, it called. You can’t leave me like this, unfinished, in disarray.

I’m torn. Old love or new. Manage my problems or fly a new direction. Without a deadline, an expectation by anyone, I flit from work to work, writing only what feels good at the time, like a book gigolo.

Maybe if one of them manages to snag me for real, binds me with a contract, I’ll settle down. But until then, sweet works-in-progress, take it from Rod, it’s a heartache, nothing but a heartache, hits you when it’s too late, hits when you’re down…

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