I know, I know... I haven't posted in awhile, but I've been busy working on something just for you. I can't wait to tell you all about it. It's...........
Wait, hang on. First I have to tell you about my knee.
What has a spine, no knees, and you find it in libraries?
Back in February my good knee went bad. Mom took me to the vet, who told her the obvious: my good knee was now a bum. Bummer.
Dr. Obvious's next bum surgery appointment was on my 9th Birthday.
"At least you'll get to party with the best drugs," Mom said.
We woke up early on Birthday Morning, and Mom took me to Pacific Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital.
You're probably thinking, "That's quite a mouthful, Oscar. No need to bother with all those syllables. I know what a vet is."
Correction: You think you know what a vet is, because you've never been to Pacific Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Obvious is a vet that I actually like visiting, even after everything he's done to me. One thousand, million stars. Would recommend.
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 X ∞
Mom kissed me goodbye, and then they took me into a room full of people giving me maximum attention. It was a strange time to take a nap, and yet I couldn't help it.
Mom made drugs sound like a good thing when she made the appointment, but to tell you the truth, being a party animal isn't really my style. Drugs make you sleep through all the terrific attention the nice people at the vet's office want to give you. You wake up with a headache and find that your Friends have shaved one leg all the way up to your butt.
When I woke up, everyone had gathered from all over the hospital just to sing Happy Birthday to ME! Feeling so special kind of made my head hurt, but it was worth it.
They weren't singing to those other dogs in the other crates. They were singing just to me!
All the other dogs had to wear a cone of shame when they went to meet their families in the waiting room, but my Friends made me a custom birthday hat to wear instead. Between my naked backside and my fancy hat, I turned all the heads when I hobbled into the waiting room.
Here I am in my Birthday hat getting ready to take my brand new knee home:
I haven't posted regularly since the boogeyvirus went viral and turned the internet into an ugly place, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been writing. When we were offline, Mom still wrote down all of my adventures and put them in a folder for safekeeping. Just in case we came back to them someday.
Something was different about the boogeyvirus stories, and not just because I didn't share them with my Friends like I had before. In a time when everything was about isolation, suddenly my adventures wanted to connect with each other. My hero's journey had a plot in it somewhere, I just needed to find out how it ended before I could tell the tale. So we wrote and waited, planning to come back to tell the story just as soon as we reached happily ever after.
For years, the story went on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on...
...without a satisfying ending.
After awhile it dawned on me that we must have gone hopelessly off course somewhere. If happily ever after were on this path, we would have found it by now. Either that, or we'd passed the happy ending without even noticing. One way or the other, now it was my job to go back and find it.
We hadn't added to the folder in centuries, but the story was never far from my mind. It swirled around behind my eyes, searching for its happily ever after.
On the Write Track
Now that I was 9 and the bum in my knee had turned me into a couch-potato-beast, there would be no morning runs for awhile. I needed to find a different way to keep Mom out of trouble, so I set a new challenge for us to work on together.
"I bet you can't keep up with me through a whole book," I said.
"You're right," she said. "It's way too much work."
"Yeah. You really messed up that last one," I told her.
"Stop!" she howled. "I cringe every time I think about it. We could have done so much better if we'd just tried."
"It's all your fault, you know. You got bored halfway through and released it before it was ready."
"Don't remind me! I hate that someone might think that's our best work. It almost makes me want to..."
I waited for her to say it. "To what?" I nudged.
She tried again, "...to..."
"Say it!" I coached.
"No! It would never work. I have too much on my plate."
"Come on, you know you want to."
"Okay, fine," she humphed. "It almost makes me want to write another book. Are you happy now?"
"No," I wagged slyly. "But I will be when we finish that book."
What's black and white, and read all over, and over, and over, and over?
It takes a lot of work to write a disappointing book, but do you know how much work it takes to write a book that you're proud of?
A lot. It takes a lot of work.
We've done a lot of work, and we have so, so much more still to do.
Every morning for more than 3 months I have walked Mom and her cup of poop juice to the couch to write. We write for a few hours before work, and we write for a few hours after work. Then we write more on the weekends. It hasn't been easy.
First we had to hack through more than a zillion words to find out where the story led.
Once we knew where we were going, we went back to the beginning and marked the course we planned to take. We moved paragraphs here, moved whole chapters there, and wrote just enough to glue all the pieces together. By the time we got back to the end, we realized that we'd come out in a different place than planned. Now we would have to go back and do it all again.
The third time we ran through it, we went through every paragraph, every sentence, every word with care. Word by word, bird by bird, we made our way to the finish line... where we realized there was still more of work to do.
Now we're starting on the fourth time through (or fifth, if you count the time we actually lived it). Mom says that this time we'll have to be "ruthless" and "murder our darlings." Isn't that exciting? I've never tried murder before!
When we're done murdering, we'll ask an editor and some Friends to read it. Then we'll start again and do what they say.
After that we'll go through it again. And maybe again after that. And perhaps again, and again, and again, until it says just what I want to say.
When we reach a point where there's nothing that we can improve, that's when we'll set it free. Hopefully we'll get there sometime this winter.
I'll have more updates along the way. You'll get sneak peeks at the book, and lots of fun new ways to go on adventures together.
But that's enough adventure for today... We've got to get back to editing. If there's one thing this story has taught me by sitting in a folder for 3 years, it's that books don't write themselves.
Until then, toodaloo!