I wandered around the back yard this afternoon. My crab apple has the first tiny leaves, my Asian pear is getting close too. All the rose bushes have tiny maroon first growth showing up. My peach tree has cracked buds where the pink is showing through.
It won’t be long before everything is in bloom once more. I cringed at the voice over my shoulder.
“Yes, Persephone is back on Olympus. I had tea with her Friday.”
“Hi, Lorelei*. What brings you out today?” She had on a business suit with a knee length skirt, and looked like she was about to give me a performance review.
“You,” she said. “What are you doing? You’ve been lax with your writing.”
“That’s not true. I wrote 1286 new words this morning, and I’ve updated my blog several times too.”
“Blogging isn’t the same as fiction.” She put her hands on her hips and cocked her head to the side.
“It kind of is. Lisa** got some new lines out of it.”
“That’s another thing. All that music nonsense. Are you cheating on me with one of my sisters?”
“No. I, whatever gave you–
She held her palm up toward me, and I stopped.
“What were you doing writing a song then? Don’t try to deny it either.”
“That was just a fun way to talk about publishing and promoting Wild Concept,” I said.
“My sisters are laughing at me. I’m here to help you with your fiction. If you want to take up music or poetry, I can find someone else to help.”
“No, please don’t do that. It’s just that publishing, blogging, and promoting all take time. You understand, right?”
“Quite frankly, I don’t. I don’t care if you ever publish your work. I want you to write the best stories you can, and to improve over time.”
“I have been, haven’t I?”
“Yes, but you seem distracted lately.” She looked at the peach buds and bent some of the branches. “I think it’s time to move Will ‘O the Wisp forward.”
“I made a task list just this afternoon. There are a series of things that all need to happen to bring it to a close. My plants all need to payoff by the end. It’s almost like a mini outline for the rest of the book.”
“You always were good with plants and payoffs. What about the emotional elements?”
“Still struggling, but getting better. Some of that improves in the rewrite phase.” I leaned against the fence and glanced at my boots. “I’m afraid it’s going to come up short.”
“So what?” She said. “The story should be as long as it needs to be. No more, no less.”
“It’s a marketing… Well, it’s a marketing thing. People expect a novel to come in at a certain length.” I slapped the back of my hand into the other palm. “I know you don’t care, but I do.”
“I think you should just write it and find out. You can always add a line of dialog or two. I know you’re off tomorrow, and I expect a few thousand words.” She shook her finger at me and said, “No more goofing off with your robot friend when you should be writing.”
I made a fist with my right hand and thumped my chest. “Hail Lorelei.”
“So am I in trouble?”
“Always, now don’t let me down.”
With that, she turned and walked out of the yard. I watched her walk away, it’s a nice view. She knows I watch, and it’s kind of a game now.
It was one of our less violent interactions. I’m ready for tomorrow, and somehow there will be words on paper.
* Lorelei is my Muse
** Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and works as my assistant at the writing cabin these days.