Keeping the Faith

I'm sitting in a McDonald's in Southport, NC, using the free wi-fi on my sadly dated but very faithful Asus netbook. It's been an eventful 2012. I expected to be winding down and staying home after a year on the road for Blood Clay that finished up with the Blue Ridge Bookfest in May.
But life throws you a curve now and again.
I've been staying with my parents, partaking in the "salt diet" of tears, sweat, and the sea as I move into a new phase of life. How that will end I do not know. But one thing I have promised myself, as a writer: Do not let the work suffer.
Some 15 years ago, I was engaged in a complex historical fantasy as my marriage hit a hidden rock and broke up. I was a newspaper editor and "hill farmer" in addition to being a writer. One job too many, perhaps, but I think it was more a loss of faith. I lost faith in myself. Lost faith in my writing. Six hundred pages of manuscript in the box, and I could not see the way through. The character quit speaking, or more likely, I quit listening.
I emerged, eventually, and some good poems came out of that time. But the novel - no. It takes space in the head and heart for a novel to grow, and pain and regret will crowd them out.
I am only four chapters from the end of my novel-in-progress. I've written quite a few pages over the last month. I can see the end and anticipate the rush of relief and joy that will come when the story is "delivered" in its first squalling draft.
I'm keeping the faith, this time.

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