The flashlight story is going well, considering that it's a story I'm literally afraid to write. Whatever it polishes into will be pretty powerful, I think. The rough draft is coming out unusually fast for my writing process since the kids were born. The story's also looking like it will be unusually short. I've always tended to write long, in whatever form I tackled. Manuscript length is a function of cast size--function in the mathematical sense. Every person is a world, so adding a new character puts a new world into play within the world of the story. I love a big ensemble cast, and writing them is one of my particular strengths, but novellas and family sagas are hard to sell. It's just as well this story is staying tightly focused on a single protagonist, with the handful of other figures allowing themselves to be defined mostly in relation to her problem. Wouldn't it be nice if the story found its proper scope at a nice 7,000 words? Please, little story, please, not more than 7,000 words. I can send you such lovely places if you just stay small.
A person who hadn't seen me since 1985 recognized me in the line at Starbucks today. We went to summer camp together. Though we had friends in common, we lived in different dorms and went to different classes, barely knew each other really. Her name was the only thing about her that I recognized, and we didn't have time for me to find out much about her, what the past three decades have been for her, or why she knew me after all this time.
I guess it's kind of cool that I was that memorable back in the day, and it's definitely reassuring that something of the shiny nubile creature I was at 15 is still visible in my current presence. I feel bad, though, about not remembering her. Every person is a world. Every character is secretly the protagonist. In her saga, I'm a comically self-absorbed walk-on character, fretting over whether the thing she remembers about my 15 year old self is some moment when I was acting like a jerk. In the novella of my year, what will she be?