I've written 6,828 words to date in my novel. Although calling the project a novel sounds awkward and assuming and like I'm jumping the gun. I feel it's the same way a runner must feel when they don't quite feel like a runner yet. It's like I'm a fake or a wannabe. I've written three chapters now since the prologue, and while it's moving along, I still have no idea how to get to the finish. I have a long, long way to go. Whatever comes of the project, and of NaNoWriMo, it's so far been kind of exhilarating. I spent late nights almost all last week with my laptop in my lap, music playing, tea in hand, watching words to a story I don't entirely understand yet make their way to the page. It makes me happy. I feel like I'm accomplishing something and utilizing my creativity at a time when I otherwise feel like a permanent fixture on the couch, awaiting unemployment checks.
So while losing my job was unfortunate, every day I'm starting to see bits and pieces of why, in the end, it was for the best. I have time to do things that I love, and while admittedly, very much of what I love right now is napping, it's slowly turning me back into a person with a creative mind and desire to do what might have scared me a year ago.
So to the first 5,000 words I vowed to write of my novel in 2011, I salute you. Now just give me about 45,000 more. And to the people who were begging, I give you a piece of chapter one:
Charlotte took a deep breath before picking up the phone, more than convinced it was a message she didn’t want to read.
“Jesus christ charlotte call me back,” it read, and Charlotte rested her forehead on the table, her initial reaction to chastise the asshole for his lack of proper capitalization and punctuation.
She’d been avoiding Jeff for exactly two days. The exact amount of days it’d been since she’d abandoned him in an aisle at the grocery store. She just left. Told him she was going to grab some apples and never met him back in aisle 11. It was another two trips through the grocery store before he realized there were no apples. Or Charlotte.
Something about him turned her off, and rather than doing the polite thing and breaking it off the way a rational woman would, Charlotte chose cease and desist. She also chose Aaron, who spent the night last night, and was already long gone before she hit snooze for the third time that morning, which reminded her. She quickly popped her birth control pill and was about to turn off her cell phone when it rang.
She recognized the number immediately, even though it’d been long erased from her phone. She clammed up in that moment, knowing she wouldn’t answer. The reminder hit her in the gut like a bowling ball. What does she want? she wondered. It’d been six months, and the last thing Charlotte wanted was to revisit what happened.
Luckily she wouldn’t have to because before she even hit the ignore button on her phone, there was a knock at the door.
“Shit,” she muttered. “Shit, I’m coming!”
Jon gave her the once-over when she opened the door, as she was clearly not prepared for his arrival at 9:30 a.m. like she’d promised to be. Tracy was right behind him.
“I swear to God, Blue,” he said, shaking his head.
“Charlotte!” Tracy shrieked. “You know we’re on a schedule,” she added, glancing first at her watch, then at Charlotte’s unfamiliar, oversized t-shirt.
“I know, I know, I’m changing,” Charlotte said, as she rushed back to her bedroom and closed the door, pretending not to hear Tracy ask her whose t-shirt she was wearing.
She swiped on deodorant and pulled a sweatshirt out of her closet. Jeans would do, and if she could find something other than running shoes in her entire apartment, she’d put those on, but no. Hair up, chapstick applied, go.
“Could you at least brush your teeth?” Jon asked, skeptical of her entire appearance.
“Fuck,” she said, turning into the bathroom.
“And watch your mouth,” he added. “We’re going to church.”
Church. The last time Charlotte had been in a church was Emily’s wedding. Nine years ago. Church was the last place Charlotte belonged. It made her uncomfortable, all of those people with their faith and beliefs and convictions. They’d convict her of one thing, alright, not belonging in their house of God.
Tracy claimed she was turning a new leaf, and insisted they check out that morning’s worship with her. Charlotte knew, however, that Tracy had turned no new leaf. She was sleeping with the Sunday school teacher.
She grabbed her purse and her keys, and headed out the door with her two best friends. Right then her phone rang. It was the same caller. For the second time that morning she hit ignore.