Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Scrambled Like Scrabble

There's so much to do! I have a ton to write here, the final chapter needs massaging, and I'm trying to write a short story. However, I'm taking a minor break from novel land (though I never leave it), to tally the day. Today I had to drive 169 miles (each way) to the nearest Mini dealership. My lease is about to end and I wanted to get one more service covered by lease as well as look at new Minis. They no longer carry yellow so I knew they'd have a tough time ripping my claws from my current Mini, but still fun to get some highway miles and look at all the pretty new Minis.

A long drive like this gave me ample time to think. My mind was reeling with thoughts and no where to note them. I really must buy a recorder. Except I wonder if I'd ever go back and listen! I first bounced to last night and meeting a lovely writer. We got to know each other and talked shop over a marvelous dinner. It was such a great evening. Thinking over each topic, reliving the nice exchange with a peer, I recalled she released a small bomb onto my novel. Apparently, there's a tiny town called Somersville in MO. Hmmm, is it too close to Somerville? Yes, I think so. Now I'm on the hunt for a new name! GAH! though I'd rather know now than after I've finished the novel.

Eventually, as I mentally prepared for my showdown at the dealership, I recalled the original Mini dealings (and partly because I just commented on C.J.'s site about this particular memory). As it's the end of my lease, I asked myself what I wanted this time. Last time I hunted for a yellow model, white roof, and adorned with white bonnet stripes under very specific money terms: only 'this' much down, and 'this' much a month. It was 2008 and I wasn't getting great help. I finally gave in and ordered what I wanted but was frustrated because the dealership refused my new Jetta as a trade in (long story but a great car). So I broadened my search to 500 miles and found exactly what I wanted in Las Vegas. My Mini can go over 525 highway miles on a single 14 gallon tank. Bloody Hell!

Storm near Grand Canyon on trip from Cali to MO
Vegas was such a wonderful trip. I still love my Mini and I knew this dealership was going to have a hard time convincing me to let it go. I arrived, sent Daisy in for service and sat down to read. The salesperson wasn't ready for me. She needed specs on my trade-in value. When it was obvious she wasn't coming back soon, I tucked away the novel and opened up my laptop. With my headphones on to drown out Kathy Lee, I worked on edits to my final chapter. Finally, she came back and gave me some rather meager offers. Yellow was discontinued and everything in stock had a black top! I packed up and waited for her to print some information while meandering the showroom floor. There, I met the most beautiful blue Mini in the whole world. I actually considered relinquishing Daisy! But the black top and terms weren't in the least tempting to me.

I walked out to a freshly cleaned yellow Mini and smiled as the salesperson said, "You have to be cheerful in a yellow Mini." Indeed.

My drive back involved contemplation of my final chapter (now chapters). It was useful writing at the dealership and now I had fresh ideas buzzing in my head. Simultaneously singing with songs playing on my iPod, I bounced back and forth from novel contemplation to daily thoughts such as: a blog entry about a great novella; write review for Joe and interview him; post some pertinent updates about SE; create a few more pages; and last but never least, I need to follow-up on correspondence.

And then it hit. The eureka moment. A tiny detail I'd already noted in my outline suddenly pushed through, exclaiming it wasn't a nice detail but the key to transforming the ending. It was so obvious and simple, and it was like the heavens opened up to a chorus of Brits yelling, "Bloody Hell!"

* yes, I'm aware that BMW now makes the Mini Cooper but COME ON! Have you ever heard the polite sound of a Mini alerting you to an open door or unfastened seatbelt? It makes you want to say Cheerio and have afternoon tea! I'm so American.