I had seated myself for lunch at a suburban Washington, DC spot that was known for its killer chilli, hot dogs, and comfort foods. I’m the king of cheap eats. As a matter of fact, my DVR stokes my lusts for this food genre by automatically recording new episodes of “Drive-ins, Diners, and Dives.” It was my intention yesterday to snarf down a couple of chilli cheese dogs while losing myself in chapters of my manuscript.
Last November, I had set aside the third draft of A Ring to It. Now I’m editing my story with the fresh eyes needed to be objective. Travis Blackwell reigns as the NFL Most Valuable Player. Siobhan has dispatched him out of her life except for his scheduled visits with their six year old twins. The football season is underway, and life goes on for the Blackwells, yadda, yadda, yadda. My writer’s gut knows that I have written a compelling hook in chapter one, and I’ve crafted an ending that sizzles. The late-novelist Leslie A. Banks gave me two thumbs up before she died.
However, I’m stuck in the dreaded middle story. Authors notoriously get mired down in bridging beginning to end. I need to tie together twists and turns that make the reader want see if Travis ever gets back to Siobhan and if he’s able to regain his on-field game that had made him the most feared running back in the league.
Then I heard rustling at an adjacent table. I tried my best not to lose my place in my story. At this point, Travis was fighting a teammate in the huddle during a nationally televised ballgame. Meanwhile, Siobhan had been swept away by a knight in a shiny Gulfstream to a holiday in Quebec City, Quebec. I fought off the woman’s giggling at that table, not wanting to lose my stream of thoughts.
“New haircut?” the man asked, holding his date’s chair.
“If you wouldn’t look at my behind all of the time, you would have noticed my new hairdoo a week ago,” the woman replied coquettishly.
My focus was shot to Hell as effectively as Osama bin Laden had been sent there by a Navy SEAL’s double-tap. I raised my eyes to see an early sixtyish man in jeans and a dark Hawaiian shirt. He appeared to be the type who worked with his hands for a living, perhaps as a carpenter or a plumber. The woman had the age defying body of thirty year old. I suspect that she was a Jane Fonda devotee who has been slavishly exercising to Fonda’s VCR workout tapes since the ’80s. Even I did a double take at her jeans that framed her best asset. She wore a youngish, pixie cut that was dyed auburn red. She could not stop smiling.
Her carpenter companion’s eyes never left her. He set her meal before her with supreme attention, ensuring that she had napkins, plastic cutlery, and Tabasco. When he sat, his hands kept finding ways to touch hers which she kept atop the table. Their vibe screamed new love. Perhaps it was a spring fling. Maybe more.
The couple’s love dance opened up my writer’s mind. I wondered whether at their ages if they still stayed on the phone all night with each other, hanging up with the sun. Did he get giddy each time he mentioned her name to his friends? Had she gotten this haircut and worn these jeans particularly for him? When they kissed, did their breathing race erratically? When their tongue danced against each other, did their layers of skin become so aroused as to become electrified to the touch of the other?
The world conspires to help me write. I’m thankful to the carpenter and his pixie for opening up this new vein of thoughts that I am sure will bridge the dreaded middle story.
When you fell/fall in love how did/do you feel? How do you act differently? C’mon, share!