Over the weekend, I drove 700 miles to find my conclusion.
I didn't know what it was, but I knew who had it: my brother-in-law Ryan, a native- New-Yorker-turned-student-teacher who's 36 as of last week.
So I left the kids behind and headed to Buca di Beppo in Sacramento. My sister Erika, my dad, and Ryan all chatted over the Saltimbocca, but I waited a long time for my turn. Because I had a question. When it was my turn, I read the one-sentence summary of my work-in-progress, and I asked how the whole book ends.
Erika and my dad came up with some good stuff, but my eyes were on Ryan. When he sat there, quiet for a full minute, rubbing his chin with his thumb, I knew he was onto something.
And then he laid it all out.
I mean, seriously. I seriously cried, and the Bucca staff all came over with cake, clapping and singing "Happy Birthday" to Ryan, and I was bawling, and he sent them away.
I can't tell you the big reason why I was crying yet. But I can tell you the little reason, which is that this was the end! After one year and three different endings, this was it! It sang!
In fact, when I threw the kids and suitcases and Game Boys and iPods back into the car and pretty much flew back to Oregon, I realized that this was what I'd been writing all along.
For two straight days, then, I wrote without stopping. I didn't eat, or sleep, or take phone calls.
And last night, I cried and cried again, as I scribbled out the last three chapters.
Tonight, I brought it to my fabulous writing group. "It's okay if you hate it," I said after reading it aloud. "Because this is it for me. This is the end."
And the end passed. I think I can say it even got some big thumbs-up!
Now, why Ryan?
Why not all my author-friends or friend-friends or family I emailed, begging for help?
Because Ryan has one thing I really lack. Clarity. He can see things clearer more than anyone I know (besides my great man, who gives excellent advice on day-to-day living, not so much literary insight.)
Ryan has the ability of stripping off layers and layers, revealing the essence. Exactly what Drain needed.
So, Ryan, you incredible, smart, authentic guy, next time, the Saltimbocca's on me. That, and the crazy tiramisu.
FALL 2015 TOUR
1 year ago