Recently, someone asked me what I intended to do when I completed the year commitment I made to write a daily blog. Having just surpassed 265 days and 8000 readers, I have been giving serious thought to this very question. It was this line of inquiry that prompted me to consider what other writers who have gained a foothold in the literary might have done with today’s technology.
Across decades and centuries, Louisa May Alcott, Henry James, Charles Dickens, Tom Wolfe, Stephen King, and Alexander McCall Smith share success as writers. Of note, each one of them used a serialized book form to publish many of their most beloved works. What is a blog if not a serialization of sorts? For two years, I have been slowly researching and organizing my thoughts on a new project, a novel called Whately Prep.
I decided to not merely take a leap, but plunge into faith. I am going to begin writing Whately Prep. It may float your boat, it may sink your ship. Let me know. Hang in with me, readers, and let’s see where it takes us. Only when the last word is written will we know if it was a journey worth making.
Book 1, Page 1
The drier tumbles the laundry around and around and around. I catch glimpses of colors and hints of fabrics. Each tells their own story about my life. I study the pattern, mesmerized by my afternoon at the Little League field with Julian (blue shirt, brown buttons) bumping up against my night with Declan (black negligee, cream lace). Tangling together are Thompson’s jeans and Sarah’s Japanese-inspired onesie. Darks, all of them are in this load, along with the blue and green comforter off of the Master bed on which Sarah’s bottle tipped, saturating it in lovingly pumped breast-milk.
The light load was filled mostly with little, tiny people clothes in worn whites, seashell pinks and sun-bleached yellows. Sarah is not yet a year old, but she is a prolific producer of laundry. The hand-stitched baby quilt that my mother made her does the spin with all the rest. Her little sheets remind me of the Milkyway, running through a bright sky of lights. Julian’s chinos, with holes and paint stains spin with Declan’s, indistinguishable in size: Julian wears boys’ size 10, Thompson wears size 14. Recently, Thompson recruited their help painting the trim on the Lake House. My panties and bras, my secret vice, have never seen the inside of a dryer. Especially these big ones built for commercial loads. The school makes them available for the students, but the laundry room is utterly deserted except for Sarah and me. She sleeps in her stroller, lulled by the hum, thump, whir of the driers. The students of Whately Prep have scattered for summer vacation. The summer school programs have not yet cranked into gear. It is precisely the time I am most visited by ghosts.