“You really don’t give yourself enough credit,” Skyspook said.
“Well, what’s been the one thread connecting my whole life together? Writing.”
“You write wonderfully,” Skyspook said.
“Eh,” I said.
“Thing is, honey, everybody writes. Everybody and their goddamn brother.”
“Not like you,” he said.
“Oh, they all think they’re terrific. Bad writing is masturbation. Good writing is sex. Both feel good, sure, but with bad writing, you’re only pleasing yourself.”
It was late, so we slunk upstairs to the bedroom. It was so pristine from the recent spring clean and so unfamiliar due to pushing the bed against a different wall that it felt like a hotel room.
“You should write a romance novel,” Skyspook said.
I couldn’t tell if it was an order. Sometimes it’s hard to tell with him since he’s so subtle in his delivery.
“That’s a tough industry,” I said. “Besides, could you really see me wearing pink pantsuits and sitting on wicker furniture? Don’t you have to be one of the Designing Women?”
Nonetheless, we batted around some ideas. It felt like an intellectual exercise, and Skyspook and I spend an extraordinary amount of time as it is talking about weird bullshit that goes nowhere.
And then, as I was drifting off to bed, it hit me — as an intense lucid fantasy. Old memories were flooding back to me in new form, and I knew exactly the pieces I would need to write this book.
“I’m ridiculous,” I said to Skypook. “I just figured out how to write the damn romance novel as I was falling asleep.”
“Get up and write it down,” he said.
I picked up my notebook and migrated to the light. The basics poured out of me along with a few shockingly lyrical expressions.
Skyspook stirred a bit when I’d returned to bed. “You amaze me,” he murmured.
We’ll see what pans out, but at this point, I’m asking “WTF life” and taking its cues anyway.
You see, I was a voracious reader of romance novels from the ages of 9 to 15 and published some erotica in a wank ‘zine at 13 (I know that’s superlatively gross and squicky since I was a kid at the time, but it’s what happened). I suppose that does explain a lot about me — but it never occurred me to produce a romance novel myself.
Like I said, it’s a long road to even write the thing, and even after it’s done and edited, publishing is a brutal business, but I’m delighted that even with all the introspection and omphaloskepsis, I still have the capacity to surprise myself.