Oh, it’s been an exciting month. Mostly for Obama, but for me too. I’m a few chapters shy of being done editing my novel for the FINAL time. In fact, I’ve set myself a goal: I’ll be finished by the time Obama is elected President. If he loses — well, he isn’t going to lose, that’s all I can say about that. The time to get stuff done is right now. Not four years from now.
Nothing like hitching your very small wagon to a juggernaut. I regret that I am unable to come up with any better metaphor for my slightly ridiculous and possibly unlucky goal — it’s the best I can do while I’m whacking away at my keyboard, trying to make sure that I didn’t call people by one name in the beginning and a different name in the end. I’ve wiped out one entire relationship and replaced it with a far, far better one, even if it doesn’t seem to be about to end happily. People are having more sex than they did in any other draft of this novel. It is suggestive, rather than anatomical sex, I’d like to assure you, in case you’re worried I’ve taken a month off to write porn. The minor characters are now, officially, a lot more real, even if they don’t get to be real for a lot of pages. The weather changes more, as do the points of view of some of the chapters. People drink an awful lot of coffee and ice water and beer in this book. They eat sausages and candied peanuts more than any other kind of food. (Brown bread and leberwurst make an appearance. So does a cake.) An adolescent appears and re-appears. Spelling? Check. Grammar? Check. German words? Check. Czech people? (sorry, that’s not really funny — but there are a lot of Czech characters. )
So that’s it, then: I’m typing, typing, typing. I’m also eating Halloween candy and hoping I didn’t jinx the entire presidential election by confidently predicting that both Barack and I will be finished with the thing we’ve been working on for a long time by midnight tomorrow. I think hope is a great thing — and I’m going with it today. I know many people feel it is best to be restrained and concerned today, and some are even spinning out scenarios in which McCain will somehow snatch this victory from Obama. That strikes me as terribly unlikely. This feeling that good things won’t happen, that people won’t vote out of the best in them, but instead will go into the voting booth and suddenly become racist and fearful makes a lot of sense given the nightmare that has been American politics in the last eight years. But bad things aren’t going to happen tomorrow. It is Obama’s singular achievement to have made that unlikely to occur, and it is one reason he is going to be a great president. So, while I am not celebrating something that hasn’t occurred yet, I think it’s equally important to go into the next day or so paying attention to something that’s so new and different it’s hard to believe it’s happening. But it is. Obama marks a paradigm shift in American politics, an enormously hopeful one. And that is something to be proud of and confident about, for the first time in a long time.
And how have all of you been?
(Wednesday I have lots of exciting writing news about OTHER PEOPLE to report. Interviews to post. Books to write about. It’s so lovely to almost, almost, almost be where I want to be.)