I have butterflies. The failure of this book would be more devastating to me than my failed marriage. A few days ago, I found the two-page screenplay treatment that started the whole thing back in the summer of 1995, complete with comments by my scriptwriting instructor (e.g., “WHAT?!? Get serious, please!”). It made me laugh so hard I cried. Amanda read it and asked me, “When did you learn to write? And when did you write this, because it sounds like you were in junior high!” I wasn’t. I was about to be a senior in high school. A few months after writing that loopy two-page story, I wrote essays that got me into Harvard. But what can I say? When it comes to writing, sometimes I’m being purposefully ridiculous. Certainly, this book started as a cosmic joke (girl moves couch and unleashes a giant emu which eats her family). But now?
Now, it actually means something to me. In the past fifteen years, it stopped being a joke to me and became a personal myth that I carry around with me everywhere I go. And this whole process has been a struggle to get it closer to that mythic status while retaining its roots in the depths of absurdity (itself an important part of the story I’m still struggling to tell).
And it’s always when I creep around this corner and step within sight of the conclusion that I lose my nerve and tell myself the draft isn’t good enough and to scrap it and start again.
But not this time. This time, Daukherville will have its ending.
Tomorrow, I head to the woods.