Britt calls on her cell on the way over to my place. Tonight is our much-anticipated writer’s date to work on outlining my book into chapters.
“Have you passed through the square yet?” I ask, frantically feeding paper into the printer.
“Nope, what do you need?”
“Another ream of paper!”
I print 268 pages single-spaced and Britt arrives just in time to feed the machine its last nine pages. She is also prepared with 3×5 note cards, a pen, good sense, and an open heart. She has read almost every single word of this book in draft form as I’ve written it and even sent me the online link to the book competition that I am preparing to enter.
We eat leftover peppered salmon with asparagus doused in balsamic vinegrette. We finish her bottle of Schmitt Sohne Riesling and pop open my favorite, Our Daily Red. We spend the next three hours crawling around the floor of my little cabin arranging the writings into sections. We agree on about ten sections, then sort, cut, and staple the works accordingly.
We break occasionally to catch up on the business of the day. She goes into poetically emphatic detail about the shit-yellow stain down the side of the ottoman in her living room. Seems as though Vaughn, one of her twin boys, has a bug that resulted in projectile everything. I explain in boring detail the agony of the FAFSA but share with her that I have decided not to defer my Master’s degree and will in fact begin residency in just two short months.
When all is said and done I have a thick pile of writing to edit, a lot of formatting work ahead of me, and some brushing up on legal matters to do. Can I quote two stanzas of Walt Whitman without permission? Should I use the real names of places or change them? How do I broach the subject of writing about minors – will their parents need to read what I have written?
Needless to say all of this is motivation to get out from under the grant project I’m working on so I can get down to business with the final stages of this book and meet the June 1st, deadline. And it’s thanks to friends like Britt who helps push me along in the right direction, and who believes in me, and who offers undying support even though she has put her own career on semi-hold to raise her children.