"I've decided to write an unauthorized autobiography." My client announced her intention to participate in this year's NaNoWriMo.
"Well, this should be interesting", I thought.
I've been watching this young woman, whom I will call Sara, dance around the edges of launching from her parents' home and her search for a career that would support her for a while now. Not an excessively goal driven woman, Sara readily admits she could happily live in her head for quite a long time under the security of their roof. We 'mature' adults just haven't made life on the outside look all that appealing, unfortunately. I hear this from young people fairly often actually. Who wants to race headlong into our over-working, stressed out, bigger-better-faster-more way of life? Much easier to curl up with a bowl of popcorn, a little HBO, some MySpace surfing, and hope the parents aren't eager to empty their nest any time soon.
Sara contacted me to help her shake herself free of inertia and she has made progress in overcoming some of her fears. Progress such as, "I realize there isn't really much to be afraid of. I could easily re-create my underachieving lifestyle on my own if my parents kicked me out." She says this tongue-in-cheek, of course, but it will give you some indication of just how stuck she has been.
Considering her NaNoWriMo challenge, I wondered, "Where's she going to get material? Daydreams, sure, but a novel's worth?"
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the keyboard. Adopting a "Jane Goodall approach", Sara began to observe herself. More importantly she began to observe her mind.
This is an excerpt of her "field notes", sent to me this morning.
... this weekend, I spent most of my writing time observing my main character's reactions to the realization that she has made her life ridiculously complicated just because those complications created a playground for her mind to play in. But she doesn't like the playground much anymore now that she knows it can't provide any real lasting happiness. It's not a more noble or enlightened diversion than doing crossword puzzles or watching soap operas.