I have reached the point in the first draft of Go Home, Miss America where I'm about to write the final dramatized scene of the Catherine Lark story line. There's one more scene in the last chapter of the book involving Catherine, but that's mostly denouement where we learn the consequences of Catherine's actions; the scene I'm supposed to write next is--or should be--the last chance we have of seeing Catherine's story developing. It's the scene that should make the ending of her story line clear. It will point the way beyond the last page of the book into Catherine's future, etc. I'm not writing this scene.
Instead, I'm reading Volume 7 of Tales of Chekhov. Right now I'm reading the 1887 story "The Murder." It's quite fine. I can't wait to read the 150-page story "On The Steppe." I'm also reading Chekhov's letters, and last night I pawed through a short chapter of Bulfinch's Mythology and I'm also reading some Yeats poetry. I'm doing a lot of reading. And look: I'm writing a blog post. So I'm writing, too. I'm just not writing that last scene in Chapter 14 of my work-in-progress.
Frankly, I have very little idea what happens in that scene. Catherine is waiting at a bus stop. Violet Molloy crosses the street and waits at the same stop. The talk. They do not get along. A bus comes. They both board and sit together and continue to talk. We get Catherine's impressions of Violet. We get Violet's impressions of Catherine. Catherine gets off at her stop. We get Violet's internal monologue about love, life, marriage. End of chapter. Yes, that's the climatic scene in Catherine Lark's story line. I know, it fails to give the appearance of a climax. Such is the way of this book. I promise that there's some bodily harm in Chapter 15, though.
Yes, I said yesterday or whenever that whatever scene I was writing then was the most important scene in this chapter, but it turns out that I was wrong. This new unwritten scene is the most important scene in the chapter. Color me crazy at this point in the process. Go ahead.
As I say, I am not writing that scene. I know it's the right scene at the right time, but I can't find the hook, the entry point into the scene and so I sit and think about it and read my outline and notes again and fuss with other scenes in the chapter but I don't write that scene. So today, I swear, I'll get a good start on it. It may be the wrong way to begin the scene, but I'll do it anyway. If it's wrong, its wrongness will only make apparent what the right approach is. So I'll do it, but I don't like it. This book has been, in a lot of ways, a real bitch to write. Chapter 15 should be pretty easy. So I tell myself. It will be raining, and rain is always good.
I only write this post so that at this stage in the next novel, I can look back and assure myself that I've lived through this hell before so I can do it again. So nothing to see here. Move along.