So, we are at an end. I hope for a fresh beginning for myself and for Amelia. I think about what it takes to write a novel, even as flawed a one as this. It takes chutzpah, there my mother's word. It takes dedication. It takes a pinch of insanity. And patience.
And a strong stomach. I can't thank all those who have read it enough. But next time, whatever it is, it won't be like this.
Why Amelia? I wonder that, the idea came to me when I was walking my dog in the woods one day. And stuck. In between I did all sorts of things. I wrote around her, making her a memory. I wrote about her as a child. I wrote about what it as like growing up in New York for me as a child. I invented her sister, invoking my own mother in the process. I invented a woman from the Midwest, a wife of a naval officer whose life was so completely different from any I'd experienced and yet for years was likely my most successful character. I avoided Amelia even as the whole book evolved. Then when I began to include her as a character I digressed. I purposely, though irrationally couldn't fit her into the narrative in a convincing way.
Four months ago that changed. Perhaps it takes that long to come to the right idea. But more likely it took me that long to let go of whatever stubbornness I was wedded to. I see it in my friends who write. We so often refuse to listen to what needs to change, we want to be taken as we are, loved as we are, understood as we are, we want our writing to carry us home. Home is where the heart is, and it's where I long to go still. I wish for acceptance from those who first rejected me. But there comes a time when one has to give up on wishing and grow up.
I have been forced to it, so I say goodbye to Amelia and in saying goodbye I say goodbye to the parents who raised me, goodbye to the years I've spent nursing them through their final illnesses, goodbye to all that. I have no idea what the next phase will be. But I hope there will be fun in it. That was why Amelia did what she did after all, for 'the fun of it.'