Curtiss Ann Matlock is one of my favorite writers of all time. I read the following essay on her blog and asked her if I could borrow it for Wednesday at the Window. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. You can find Curtiss Ann here. I recommend her backlist, and am so looking forward to what she's working on now.
When I was a child, my father was in the Coast Guard. His career required change of duty stations and gave our family the opportunity to cross the nation a number of times. This was in the late Fifties/early Sixties. Imagine two adults traveling with three children, one a toddler, driving day after day. My father behind the wheel (I rarely saw my mother drive) and my mother in the passenger seat, her dark hair in the style of Lucille Ball, with dark sunglasses on her face. We children were confined to the backseat of a 1957 Ford on the first trip. Later trips, we enjoyed the room of an enormous station wagon. I learned my mother’s phrase: “Go now, while you have the chance.” Oh, and there was, “Don’t touch that toilet seat!” and “Don’t drink the water here.” And the age-old, “We’ll see,” when we children begged to do something.
As children, our main question was, of course, “Are we there yet?” “There” being a bathroom, a restaurant, to stop for bologna sandwiches, or the motel with a swimming pool. Further into the trip, “there,” meant the final destination, and we asked it even when in the middle of nowhere, because we were tired and cranky and bored and wanted to be free from the confines of the car, the requirements of discipline within and without, the entire struggle and effort of the trip.
I’ve been asking myself “Are we there yet?” for months now with my book. I grow tired of the effort and self-discipline at pressing on.
And no, I’m still not there. But I can see the ending from here. In fact, last week I wrote the main ending. Now I am working on tying up the threads of everyone’s lives. I write happy-ending books, and I want to see everyone have their happy ending. Some people see this as fantasy, a view with which I strongly disagree, however a topic for another post.
Last night when working on a crocheted afghan and connecting new yarn, I realized that finishing a book is much the same as when I finish a crocheted project. I must weave in the loose ends of yarn to tidy up the piece. This work is by nature a bit tedious; it takes time, a good eye, patience and skill, and is the making of the piece. So, too, with writing a book.
My plan is to write ‘the end’ on the manuscript this week. I’m almost there.
~*~Curtiss Ann Matlock is an American writer of 38 novels, among them the beloved Valentine series of books set in the fictitious town of the same name. Her books have placed on the USA TODAY best seller lists and received numerous awards, among them three nominations for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award. Her stories are about men and women and families struggling to live and love.