This past weekend I went to the beach with a small group of friends from college, women I have known now for 25 years. That's a hard number to swallow, especially considering that in my mind I am still 33. The weekend could not have come at a worse time—Book 2 is due on the 15th and I still have loads of work to do on it. But I’d purchased the plane ticket long ago, and knew that breaking my commitment to this group would mean never hearing the end of it. These women can be brutal!
So I went. And instead of bringing my computer, I just printed out all the pages of the manuscript and put them in a binder. If I couldn’t write, at least I’d have time to read what I had so far. And you know what? I liked it! Writing this while working full time has been really hard, far harder than writing the first book, and as I’d slogged on writing all I thought about was how impossibly arcane it was all getting. But stepping back, I saw that it made sense. It was the oddest sensation to finish reading last night and think, wow, I might have pulled off a first draft after all! I guess I needed some distance from the project; I’d been so close up all I saw were the flaws in the brick instead of the building I was creating.
So it was a great weekend. And I'm not just talking about the Salty Dogs and Cajun tater tots. These are smart and beautiful women, but above all else they are funny. I laughed more and laughed harder than I had in months—at one point we literally laughed Molly into an asthma attack. It just doesn't get better than that.
However, my favorite part of the weekend was when we had to run to Safeway for reinforcement snacks. As we were walking in, about five twentysomething boys were walking out. While I peeled off to grab a cart, they looked my friends up and down and said, “There’s a fine pack of Cougars!”
Had I not been doubled over laughing, I would have told them it’s not a pack, it’s a pride. A pride of Cougars.
1 month ago