page one.

I’m at the coffee shop, sitting at a table, getting ready to start on my new novel. I haven’t come into this shop for the past two months except for an early morning coffee to go a couple of times. But I’m pretty sure I started my last two novels right about here, and I thought it’d be a good place to get the first couple-hundred words written. I’ve just sent in the last edits for Why Moms Are Weird, and I got the phone call this week asking when the next novel will be finished. Finished!

So, here I am. Starting over. Page one.

It’s a little easier to get started because a few people have read the new book and over the past couple of days they’ve taken the time to tell me what they think. I often don’t know how to feel about something I’ve written until someone tells me that they like it. I think that comes from writing here at — I always get email about entries, so there’s an immediate validation that has come along with my writing that is missing when you write something as time-consuming as a novel. I wait months to find out what anybody thinks about a short story or a book, because the publishing world moves very slowly.

But talking to women who tell me where they identify with the characters, and what kept them flipping pages, it’s inspiring to dive back in again, to find new ways to entertain. One of the reasons I keep so many balls in the air (heh-heh), work-wise is it keeps me from burning out. Sick of writing cold open pitches? Try a few pages of the new novel. New novel feeling like the worst thing I’ve ever written? Work on the screenplay. Or, like now, write a new entry.

And right now I’m thinking, “This is the most boring entry of all time.” Which means it’s time to go write something else for a few words.I got a new cell phone because my space phone started turning itself off in the middle of a conversation. So now I have a fancy new phone that’s so fancy all of the features don’t work on it, but I haven’t had time to call tech support for more than fifteen minutes. We keep getting close to diagnosing the problem and then I have to go to a meeting. The warranty is going to expire before I figure out how to get my email function working. I just spent the past twenty minutes transferring all of the phone numbers from space phone into new phone by hand, because space phone is so old and Cingular is so shitty that nobody could help me do it with a fancy cable or machine or something.

Going through the names of 115 people, people I either have lost touch with or don’t call often enough, was like flipping through a yearbook. College friends, high school friends, junior high friends, work friends, producers and development execs — even a few where I had to turn to stee and ask, “Do you have any idea who this is?” Anyway, it was a little depressing, because these people had no idea I was thinking about them, and there’s a guilt that comes with being this busy that I don’t know how to rectify.

I’m babbling. Procrastinating. All of the good stories from work this week are either protected under confidentiality clauses or are so offensive to the outside ear that there’s no way I can explain it correctly.

It feels like my life has split into two. There are two full, exciting, amazing, fun, difficult, exhausting lives that I live, and they don’t really mesh at any point. And because I could write six thousand words about that thought and still never come to any sort of resolution, I’m just going to stop right here. If I explained all of this, I’d be sharing way too much, even for me.

Besides, I’ve got to save some things for the fiction.

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