Well. Since we last spoke, I’ve done a few exciting things — I got a new job (which pays better and appears more stable than the one I lost in November), I signed a contract with Riptide for my first novel (!!!!!!), I released a free fantasy short through the M/M Romance group’s Love Has No Boundaries event, and I weathered the rest of radish season only to stumble headlong into zucchini season even more direly unprepared. (My gardening life has involved a lot of googling: “sunflower foliage image” and “when to harvest potatoes” and most recently “zucchini recipes,” “more zucchini recipes,” and “recipes to use up a LOT of zucchini.”)
There’s something really comforting and pleasant about working in the garden, though; my mother has been a gardener since before I was born, and I think I’ve inherited this temperament from her. Sitting out in the dirt and pulling weeds is a good time for contemplation, for meditating on scary things. Like writing.
Before Rachel read my book I kept thinking, “what if she doesn’t like it?” Now that she has read it and liked it, all I can think is, “What if I can’t ever do that again?” What if I can’t sustain a story that size? What if I can’t come up with a plot? What if, what if, all these nasty weedy little ideas that take root without permission and grow wildly as soon as my back is turned. Possibly the ugliest one, hiding under other foliage and setting down nasty deep roots: What if I could only write that book because of my partner’s help and encouragement, and without her I’m missing something crucial?
Putting that one into words means I have to actually look at it, and maybe start trying to dig it out so I can burn it. Yes, she helped a lot with the first draft. Yes, she was the person I talked to when I got stuck. Yes, her enthusiasm fueled the writing efforts. But getting that help doesn’t mean I’m incapable of writing on my own. And needing it doesn’t mean I’ve failed as a writer; Acknowledgements sections wouldn’t thank first readers and writers’ groups so often if that weren’t a really useful thing for a writer to have. Creating in a vacuum is not actually standard practice.
Drake and Gabriel’s story is, among other things, about finding faith in unlikely places. I think it’s time I tried to find some of my own. I’ll just have to keep digging.