The Prologue

Okay, so I’ve edited this historical novel of mine about a million times. Where I think I’m shaving off thousands and thousands of words I’ve barely skimmed two thousand. The book as it stands right now is too long and I know I have to cut – a lot. I have about fifteen more chapters to go in this round of rewriting before I can sit down with line edits, fine-tuning, make some corrections, and so on. I also have an amazing beta reader who is tackling one chapter at a time and providing me with spot-on edits.

I don’t willingly normally share my work. I remember editing a newspaper piece I wrote once so many times that the editor told me he didn’t even have to touch it. Of course, that piece took me two weeks to get “just right” and a lengthy review of my old college journalism books. Perfection is a problem with me and so sharing my work makes me a little jumpy. Because are the words ever perfect enough?

Right above my desk is a white board and a quote from the writer, Sean Platt, “Perfection is the enemy of done.”

Exactly.

That.

I read that damn quote every single day to remind myself to stop fiddling with this novel that has been with me now for several years. Oh sure I’ve written several books since this one but I keep coming back to it to rewrite…there is something about this book – a historical novel set in Los Angeles during WWII – that holds my heart.

But it can’t be my own personal baby forever. I must let it fly and go out into the world one of these days. I certainly can’t coddle it forever.

So here goes.

The Prologue to my historical novel. Perfect, not perfect, pathetic, awesome, lovely, horrible. Whatever it ends up being.

One more thing: the formatting may be a little wonky when I copied it over.

Prologue
1980

 

The screams could be heard from miles away.

It was 1959 and Sophia stood back and watched the horror unfold as the Los Angeles police drove their Ford Fairlane’s into Chavez Ravine with their sirens blaring and officers slamming doors with such force it felt like the earth was shaking. In an instant a woman was screaming and yelling and cursing in Spanish that Sophia could only guess what was being said. The bulldozers were ready to tear down the only houses left in what now looked like a giant hill filled with debris and dirt mounds. The sounds of crushing glass, wood crumbling to the ground, and cement cracking as easily as toothpicks filled the air of this once-tight community and left only hatred and anger behind in its wake.

The thin, dark-haired woman that Sophia remembers playing cards with and eating her homemade tamales was being roughly carried out of her home by the Los Angeles police, who held her by both her arms and legs like a rag doll. The more the woman struggled the tighter the police held onto her. Her black and white polka dot dress blowing in the mild summer afternoon as if she were sitting carefree on a beach chair instead of being forcibly evacuated from the only home she knew.

Her screams made Sophia shiver and even after almost six decades, Sophia still shivered when she thought of it.

Most people left Chavez Ravine broken and depressed but only the woman with the black and white polka dot dress, along with a mere handful of residents, refused and had to be taken out by force.

The media cameras captured all the horror and across Los Angeles people read with disgust what levels the residents of Chavez Ravine had sunk to. The image of the screaming woman being dragged out of her home would remain the sole image of Chavez Ravine used over and over for years to come.

Sophia stood on the hill, quite different from what she remembered, but in her mind the memories were as clear today, despite the smog that covered Los Angeles like a thin blanket, as they were over sixty years ago.

Looking around Sophia could still make out where Palo Verde elementary school once stood and if she closed her eyes she could see her four boys all playing on the playground and hear the laughter of young children. Of course, the elementary school has long since been buried underground, filled in with dirt and replaced by a cement jungle of blue and white.

This will always be home, Sophia thought as she stood lost in memories of the past.

Chavez Ravine. Her home. Her heart.

A place where Sophia and Joe Giacalone raised four boys and built their home on Davis Street overlooking the lights of downtown in a community that was wedged in a ravine surrounded by hills.

Sophia took pride in her home and loved decorating her living room with photos and light blue curtains. She embroidered towels for the bathrooms, hung shelves above her washing machine, and grew parsley in galvanized pots on the windowsill. The same windows that she had to close, even in the heat of summer, when the Arroyo Seco Parkway was under construction and the pounding noise made her crazed with the sounds of drills and hammers and sheets of concrete being laid into place. She didn’t care that this new stretch of highway was creating a faster passage from downtown to the suburbs of Los Angeles, Sophia hated the constant noise that lasted for two long years.

Sophia took a deep breath and was filled with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee as she waited for her best friend and neighbor, Blanca, to stop by for a quick game of gin-rummy and catch up on all the latest news in their tiny, shabby community.

Of course, Sophia never thought her quaint town was shabby. To her the dirt was love and the smiles of neighbors were golden. The tinny sounds of music that filled the streets on weekends, the friendly wave of a neighbor, and the fragrances of sweet peas and bread baking in hot kitchens was what her life was about then.

Chavez Ravine was never considered a desirable place to live by those that didn’t live there. There were no mansions and well-manicured lawns. In fact, no one even had lawns. Instead, their front yards were filled with large fruit trees, grape vines, colorful flowers, and lawn chairs to sit and enjoy the wonderful southern California sunshine, some with bottles of beer, others with a jug of wine, sipping from plain, stubby glasses.

There was nothing fancy about life in Chavez Ravine in the 1940s. Many homes had peeling paint and were supported by stacks of cinder blocks. But, when you walked inside the homes, they were filled with scents of chili peppers roasting in the oven and tomatoes cooking on the stove. The tiny kitchens, barely enough room for one woman, was a bustling thoroughfare of activity. Women baked breads and cookies every afternoon while they waited for the laundry to dry on the line outside. If a rabbit happened to hop within reach, it was often caught and cooked into a cacciatore for dinner.

A place where a B-rated actor, Crispy Martin, lived on Reposa Street and often threw parties for his neighbors which was a highlight every summer when everyone was given an invitation that was hand delivered and tied with a gold ribbon. In a time when most actors chose to live in places like Pasadena or Beverly Hills, Martin picked the closed-knit community of Chavez Ravine, giving his neighbors plenty of bragging rights.

The children of Chavez Ravine played make-shift baseball in the open fields and chased each other in the middle of Gabriel Avenue or Bishops Road where only a few cars ever traveled. Sometimes the children would roll down the large hills of Davis Street and Shoreland Drive and tramp through mud puddles on their way to the dime store to buy a few pieces of hard candy.

Chavez Ravine somehow escaped the trappings of life in a big city. The small valley in the middle of Los Angeles felt immune to the harsh realities of the city. In Chavez Ravine neighbors were also friends. They talked on the corner and housewives walked to Marbetta Market for their weekly groceries. They shared life stories after Sunday mass or over a game of cards. They had dreams and hopes for their small community. And, they watched and prayed as the country began sending their boys off to war.

For a while, not one boy from Chavez Ravine had been sent to fight in Europe. Of course, that wouldn’t always be the case but even war couldn’t break up the rhythm of Chavez Ravine and the beating heart of its residents.

One can always look back on a life spent and think of only the good, the idyllic, and the special. But, there were bad days in Chavez Ravine too.

Kids would get ahold of their parent’s liquor and break windows and tear down trees with saws. The Great Depression took the livelihoods of many men in the community and left poverty in its wake. When Dr. Wood, a famed Los Angeles surgeon, was killed on the streets just outside Chavez Ravine after a house call, the authorities automatically assumed the killer lived there. It took three years to finally free the innocent man who was wrongly accused. By then, however, a dark cloud had begun to hang over Chavez Ravine.

Sophia closed her damp tear-filled eyes when she recognized Effie Street below them and could still see where her family’s grocery store once stood off Boylston and Shoreland Streets. The one story green building with, “Marbetta Markets #5” printed in block white lettering above the double doors and painted signs offering quarts of milk for fourteen cents and five pounds of potatoes for a nickel.

Her mind went back to women wearing bright floral-patterned dresses and comfortable shoes carrying small baskets through the dirt parking lot as their children ran towards the doors of the grocery store. Inside the sounds of Frank Sinatra playing in the background as women squeezed oranges and smelled melons before buying them. The women carried their loot back home, walking because many had never learned, or been permitted to learn, to drive, humming “I’ve got the world on a string” and wonder why that song was stuck in their head?

And when the gossip of a baseball team moving from Brooklyn to Los Angeles was on the minds of everyone in Chavez Ravine people would ask one another, “Could one man buy an entire town and turn it completely upside-down?”

Ultimately the answer would be yes and their world, as they knew it, would never be the same again.

Chavez Ravine proved it was not immune to the imperfections of life.

“Nana? Are we going to stay on this hill forever? I’m starving and my feet hurt,” Sophia’s granddaughter, Pippa, nudged Sophia out of her trance down memory lane.

Sophia looked at the box she was still holding onto and somehow it felt heavier now.

“Is this where we’re gonna to do it?” Pippa asked. For a young girl Pippa was more aware of life and death than Sophia remembered being at that age.

Sophia placed the heavy box on a bench at the top of the Lilac Terrace, a hill that still exists in Chavez Ravine, “Yes, this is the spot. This was where Papa and I lived and the place he truly loved more than anywhere else,” Sophia struggled with the sights around her. The trees that all looked too big now, the hills that no longer created a ravine, and the buildings of downtown Los Angeles that seemed much taller.

And now Dodger stadium occupied the space where her life had felt meaningful and rich.

Pippa had long parted her hand from her grandmother’s and began fumbling with her Sony Walkman trying to find her favorite song, “This very spot?” Pippa said not looking up from her Walkman.

“Yep. Of course, we lived here before Dodger stadium was built. And I think the hill got steeper because I don’t remember it being quite that difficult to climb,” Sophia chuckled to herself.

Sophia opened the box that was filled with Joe’s ashes.

His final wish, he had said in a note.

Actually, Joe had left Sophia with three final wishes, like a genie in a bottle Sophia laughed through her tears when she first read the note in the days following Joe’s funeral.

And she was about to take care of the first one.

Together they stood on top of the hill with the hum of people filling Dodger stadium and the distant horns honking in downtown Los Angeles and neither of them speaking for a couple of minutes. Pippa was thinking about hot dogs and peanuts and Sophia couldn’t seem to stop the mental walk down memory lane. But, since her granddaughter was growing more impatient by the minute, Sophia tried to stay focused on what she was here to do.

Sophia opened the box and scattered her husband’s ashes over what used to be Chavez Ravine.

The smog filled Sophia’s lungs as her eyes began to water.

For several minutes Sophia and Pippa watched as the ashes swirled and blew in different directions around them, floating finally down the hill and nestling among overgrown shrubs and weeds.

Now Sophia had to face Joe’s second and third wish.

One that she had been dreading from the minute she had read the last note her husband had ever penned, days before his death.

Pippa was hopping on one foot, restless, “Can we go now?”

Sophia nodded as she closed the box and gave one last glance around.

Sophia and Pippa waited in the long line and handed the woman in a blue t-shirt with matching cap, two tickets. Beside her, Pippa was excited to be at a baseball game, her favorite sport, and where Joe had taken her many times from the time she was five.

As they walked into the stadium, Sophia felt her heart began to race, “I never in a million years thought I would ever step foot in this place.”

“Really? Never?”

Sophia shook her head.

“It’s too bad that Papa had to die just before the game,” Pippa said.

“I didn’t even know he had tickets to Dodger games,” Sophia said quietly.

“Ohhh, Papa kept a secret! Papa kept a secret!” Pippa giggled as she chanted and Sophia couldn’t help but giggle too.

Joe had indeed kept a secret. He had season tickets to Dodger home games for the last twenty years, a gift, his final note said.

Sophia felt her heart race.

A gift she was about to meet.

Sophia and Pippa found their seats and nibbled on peanuts and drank soda. “Pippa, see where third base is?”

“Yeah,” Pippa nodded as she threw her shells on the ground.

“That was the spot where our house was. Where your father grew up.”

“Really? That’s cool, Nana. How can you be sure, though?”

“Well, I remember being able to see the police academy from our front door of our house and if you look out just beyond third base you can still see the academy.”

“Is that the same police academy when you used to live here?”

Sophia nodded slowly, “That’s all that has remained of Chavez Ravine, Pippa.”

Oh Yeah, It’s Monday

It’s just one of those days.

When I pulled out of my garage and drove the three blocks to my subdivision’s swimming pool I was able to get annoyed twice. I am not even sure how that’s possible. A car pulling out of their driveway and not looking forced me to come to a complete stop. And at the stop sign me and another car arrived facing each other at exactly the same moment. I had my indicator on waiting for them. THEN they turned on their turn signal.

Not a great way to start a Monday at 6:30 in the damn morning.

I overslept too.

Normally I’m up by 5:30 so I have time to make my coffee and do other little things around the house before I go and spend 150 minutes in water aerobics. Today I had barely enough time to lather up on sunscreen.

And suddenly we are heading towards the end of July.

Which means summer is almost over.

NO!

In a few weeks I will be registering the two kids at high school and then summer will really be over and yet there is SO MUCH left to do this summer.

You know, those crazy ass things I had on my list.

Like read 35 history books. So far, I’ve read four.

And defrost my big freezer (fat chance, that sucker was just restocked with a ton of meat on sale). And scrapbook more. And finish editing my L.A. novel (I am ALMOST finished with it. Another twenty or so chapters and then it will only need…hopefully…some line editing and fine-tuning). And get the freezer full (after I defrost the sucker, of course) of freezer meals for those busy days/nights when I will be coming home from school right around the dinner hour. And read a handful of classics.

Right now I am a mixture of exhaustion and a dash of overwhelmed. I’ve got a kid laid up after foot surgery (and I suddenly have to drive him everywhere. Super fun, let me tell you). I’ve got another kid getting ready to take driver’s education and hopefully between now and school starting a car will be in his future. I’ve got school books to read, ASL videos to watch so I can try and have a miniscule leg up, and novels to read before I may not have as much time for fiction. I’ve got dentist appointments, a floor that needs refinishing and would require us to be out of the house for three days, and a garden to tend to. I’ve got a non-fiction book I’m trying to self-publish and another novel I am trying to rewrite/edit. I’ve got an aggressive swim exercise routine seven days a week I go to. And I’ve got to keep the fire burning on a potential job search that could move us yet again somewhere else.

Okay, for now I’m going to manage to walk down the hall and drink more coffee and rewrite another chapter when what I really want to do is pipe my coffee intravenously as I take a nap under the fan. Oh, hello Monday, you bastard.

How About Now?

I have written 10 novels, 1 children’s book, and a couple of non-fiction type book projects to date (I’m sure there are more in here somewhere). My biggest novel is the one I am still rewriting. I know there is going to be a day (gawd, let it be soon) that I will have to officially put the baby to rest in a colorful pasture filled with big, beautiful trees and hopefully lining the shelves in an Amazon warehouse – or wherever books go these days.

I get asked the publishing question a lot. Do I have any books published? The answer is no. Not yet. Articles, yes. Books, no.

I am gun shy about self-publishing although I’d like to give it a try. But I don’t want to be hasty and just publish garbage either. I have a few shorter fiction pieces that I would like to rewrite and edit and eventually self-publish.

The book I’m working on now – a historical fiction book about Los Angeles during WWII and mixes in city corruption and a dose of Dodger bits is one very close to my heart. The characters feel like they are alive somewhere in another dimension (okay, that could be reading-while-the-hubby-watches too many episodes of ‘Fringe’) and I almost hate to see them go. But, it’s time. I need to get this book out of my stack of “Work in Progress” and out into the world.

Gasp.

I am working with someone who is reading my chapters, one at a time, and her input has been invaluable. I’m not any less scared to send it out but her responses have been encouraging.

I wonder sometimes if the pressure to “publish” (Or as my mom so kindly points out, “when are you ever going to publish something worthwhile?” Ouch.) kills some of the creativity or if I’m just making lame excuses?

It reminds me of a time my dad used to make these wooden animal basket things. He would cut the wood, paint them, nail them into turtles, bears, ducks and the minute my mother (I’m seeing a trend here, doctor) insisted he start selling these wooden animal baskets his creativity and desire for them diminished and he never made them again.

Look, I’m totally not saying if I sell my book it would kill anything. Except maybe my back from too much jumping up and down. Those days are – well, anyway.

But I do feel the pressure. And it isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. I am motivated at the moment to wrap up this almost-final rewrite before I start school at the end of next month.

I have many chapters left to plow through and all I seem to be doing is ADDING to my word count and not taking much away. But right now I am working through plot issues mainly and tightening up the writing and editing where I can, although that isn’t my total purpose yet. It is so close – and yet so far.

The Historical Novel

So I have this big ole honkin’ novel that I wrote alongside another novel back in November/December 2012. I was overwhelmed and benched it for a long time. Well, I guess I benched it for a year. I just couldn’t bring myself to go over the many holes in the plot, the undeveloped characters, and the ending that was only a few paragraphs because I was so anxious to finish the thing.

Then at the beginning of this year I decided it was time to tackle it. I went painstakingly through each and every chapter…combining chapters, adding characters, tightening plot, fixing holes, adding character depth, correcting choppy or corny dialogue, adding a completely new subplot with another character to the mix, and using up an entire dark green ink pen in the process. It took me two full weeks of doing nothing else.

I basically just finished the rewriting of the novel that started out somewhere around sixty thousand words and ended up at 153,000 words and 44 chapters.

This has been the first book that has officially made it out of first draft status.

And as I continued to rewrite the last few chapters I have been sending the first chapters to a fellow writer for critique and edits and so now I will embark on (more) editing and tightening…and getting it published.

A part of me is sort of sad that I am *almost* finished with these characters, their story, their hometown. It has been a story inside me for as long as I can remember taking place in Los Angeles in the 1940s in a town that doesn’t exist anymore. A town that my mother grew up in and had wonderful memories that she shared with me.

My goal was to finish the rewrite by the end of the year and I made it by barely a month to spare. Whew. Now, my goal is to get some book proposals out in the world by the end of the year as I continue now to edit chapter by chapter. And while my instinct is to hold on forever correcting a missed comma or an adjective that could have been better I will remind myself of a quote I heard  a writer say recently on a podcast: “Perfection is the enemy of done.” Not to say I won’t do my due diligence in making sure it is as good as I can make it but I can’t hold onto this baby forever, keeping it a toddler when it should be going off to college.

I gotta let it go.

And hopefully by letting it go it will be published and transformed from plain ole white paper to a pretty book with thick covers and a binding.

Meanwhile, I am about twelve thousand words into my NANO novel I started a few days ago and starting on Monday I will attack another rewrite of another novel.

Not From Here

I hail from the Los Angeles area. And every year on New Year’s Day we would sit in horror as the secret of our lives were broadcasted across the country via the Rose Parade – which was a mere two miles from my house and when the Rose Bowl game played later that day the blimp could be seen out our windows.

Without fail New Year’s Day would be a mild 70-degree something, the skies would be a bright cobalt blue without a single cloud, and the sun would be gloriously shining. Ahhhhh, January in southern California.

But then.

Everyone would notice our blue skies and sunshine on the first of January as they peek out their own windows at a cold, snowy, grey abyss and think…hmmm…maybe we should move to southern California…

Hence, our melting pot.

Truth be told, we were used to people flocking to the area. It was no different when we were in San Diego – same thing happened. Flocks. Of. Seagulls. People. (Sorry, my 80s came out there for a second.)

People came to southern California for a different life. Something better than what they thought they had. They craved sunshine year-round. They craved traffic. (No, that can’t be right.) They craved those cobalt blue skies they saw during the Rose Parade and couldn’t believe a place like that existed in January – as they shoveled five feet of snow off their driveway and froze their asses off on their way to work.

And people moved OUT of California for the same reason: they wanted a different life. Less traffic. Less people. Less crime. Less sunshine – yes, it’s true – but we like to say, “I wanted a place with four seasons”. They wanted a better place to raise a family. They wanted a slower pace of life. They wanted to live somewhere where their dollar went a little further and a place where you could actually breathe without your neighbors listening.

There were many reasons we left southern California. High cost, too many people, too much traffic, and we lived in what I referred to as a fish bowl. We wanted out of the rising cost of living in San Diego with its one season and growing crime rates.

Somehow the people of Idaho didn’t get the memo about people moving into their town. They don’t have a yearly Rose Parade watched across the country. They are therefore confused as to why people would move here. No, not confused. Pissed off. They don’t want people to move here. And they especially don’t want people from California to move here.

Without fail there are comments on Facebook whenever there is talk of increased crime or a traffic accident or road construction or houses being built in new subdivisions – “you people need to go back where you came from.” “Go back to California.” “Californians need to stop moving here!” “This was such a great place to live until all the Californians moved here!” I’m surprised we aren’t blamed for the cold winter and Boise State football losing against Ole Miss.

I want to shake them and tell them it is just the facts of life. People move around. People go places where they feel they can get a better life. Instead of being bitter, pissed, and angry at us Californians for “ruining their small town” they should feel happy and proud that we would all move away from a place where the sun shines 350 days a year to their little corner of the world – where the sun, well, doesn’t shine 350 days a year.

For such a quaint, friendly, small town when we first moved here ten years ago – I now see nothing but bitter and cranky people who despise anyone who isn’t born here.

Maybe Boise needs a parade.

…In the fall when it is gorgeous around here. On second thought, never mind.

Small Town Living

 

I am intrigued by the notion of small towns.

Driving through them I am always amazed that people actually live in such tiny places. Of course, I spent a year in a town with a population of about 1700, give or take. And it was, well, TINY. Everyone knew everyone and because it was in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania and I was originally from the west (California and Idaho) people were, um, less than eager to pull me into their already-tight circle.

There was the stereotypical one light. And One grocery store (okay, two if you count the store that sold all dented boxes and cans and reeked of cigarette smoke since the people running it smoked…and the boxes also smelled, it was gross). There was a Main Street, a railroad track, two gas stations, a few (locally owned) pizza restaurants, several churches, the policeman who also moonlighted as one of the town’s basketball umpires, and references to highways like the 435 and the 620 and the 573. All those numbers made my brain hurt and I could never get them straight.

The difference is the “big” city (and by all accounts it was a big-ish city of about 80,000 but certainly nowhere near Los Angeles or Boston big) was only about twenty minutes away. Of course, a big pain in the ole butt to have to “trek” all the way into the big city in order to find a bookstore, Wal-Mart, pet supplies, the mall, and anything else this big-city-girl needed.

Needless to say, this Off-The-Beaten-Path-Detour to a small town on the east coast made this Los-Angeles-Born-Big-City-Girl realize that perhaps small town living was not meant for me. I remember driving into New York City one day and stepping off the bus and taking a deep breath, “Ahhh, I LOVE it here” were my first words. Meanwhile, my small town hairdresser said she lived in this small town her entire life and had never once been to NYC. Wha? Really? How? Why? I was confused.

Anyway.

As we drove recently from Idaho to the Oregon coast we drove through a many teeny tiny towns – population under a thousand – and no life to be seen for miles and towns that look like they are one closed grocery store away from becoming a ghost town.

I want to know, how do they grocery shop? What if they need a doctor or a hospital? Do they ever feel lonely? Does everyone really know everyone? Do people ever move away? Or, move into one of these really small towns? Where are the schools? What if you need a bookstore? Or a library? Or school supplies? Or frozen yogurt? Or have food delivered?

And I think, besides the grocery store question – because I am very concerned how these people find food to eat – is the biggest question of all: WHAT DO PEOPLE DO FOR A LIVING?

I am baffled and intrigued and curious every time I drive through one of these small towns and I’m sure my husband is tired of hearing me ask these (rhetorical) questions whenever we drive through a desolate looking town.

Do you live in a small town or know someone who has? Please share with me some of your insight…

Plugging Along

July was a blur.

And somehow between an illness that would not leave for anything to a houseguest for an extended weekend I managed to write almost forty thousand words on my novel, Chavez Ravine. Or rather, rewrite.

The first draft was finished back in ’12 and I have been working on fixing plot holes and character issues since the beginning of the year when I benched the project for a number of reasons.

But in July I picked it back up and tried like hell to find my voice again. It was my fear when I had to step away from the project back in spring that my momentum would be lost and it was. Slowly, however, I am feeling the flow again.

It helps that I met a fellow writer during the July Camp NANO and we are in the beginning stages of critiquing each others novels. I will say after keeping this project to myself for so very long it is kind of exciting having another person read it with fresh eyes…and who isn’t related or married to me.

I have let a handful of people read the prologue – mainly because it was the one chapter that I rewrote in a writer’s group probably fourteen times and felt it was the strongest chapter. The benefit of having a fellow writer read and critique your work is because of this: I let a friend read the prologue. Her response was quick and predictable. “Oh it was great.” And, here is the kicker: “Was Sophia based on your mom because I could have sworn it was!”

Oh. Me. Gawd.

Really?

No. The characters aren’t directly anyone I know in real life. They are people who just happen to speak to me at all hours of the day and night.

Okay, that sounds creepy but if you are a writer, you know what I am talking about.

Anyway.

I wanted to make it through the entire book by the end of July. At the beginning of the month I was on chapter 17 and when the month was over I was on chapter 28. One chapter shy of finishing act two. This was definitely a more difficult month for me because writing first drafts I can do quickly and awful-ly and bang out anywhere from fifty to eighty thousand words in a thirty day span. This time every word felt like I was walking through a swimming pool, in a rainstorm, with bees buzzing at my face.

As of today I have exactly fourteen more chapters to rewrite before I can turn back to chapter 1 and begin the edit process all over again. (Sigh. Sometimes it does feel like it is never-ending.)

Crazy as it seems, I love it all. The entire process – even the walking in the swimming pool part.

This story will simply not leave me until I finish it. I keep stumbling onto little tidbits about Los Angeles and Chavez Ravine and the Dodgers and it draws me in and I think, “Oh, I have to find a way to put that in the book.” I wonder if there will be a time when the book is finished and I stumble onto a new little gem and can just leave it be?