That is my new number.
A few months ago that number was over 41,000. It has been as high as 44. Over the past year I have spent a great deal of time cleaning and polishing and re-working those numbers. And that figure is always changing. It will continue to change until the day I'm done. My goal -- is to finish a manuscript I've been working on with 90 to 100,000 words. Until last year I have done very little writing. Certainly nothing of this magnitude. And certainly not a book.
I got the idea last year while we were in Washington, D.C. When I called my wife to tell her about it, she blatantly said, "So write it already and quit talking about it!"
I remember it very clearly. I was standing on a corner not two blocks away from Fords Theater waiting for the light to change. She was in Bethesda covering a conference that was going on. The girls and I had just left the International Spy Museum and my mind was racing. Her remark was like a sting. There was that hint of insinuation that said you'll never do it. I remember thinking to myself, 'I'll show you.'
And so I began...
Two weeks later, back in Utah. I had just gotten off of work. My wife swung by to pick me up, and the girls were in the back seat of the Mazda laughing.
Lois looked at me and said, "The girls are excited, they're writing a book."
"Oh really!" I said. "I'm writing a story as well."
And as I listened to my daughters tell me their story, the look on my wife's face said, 'Do Tell'.
March 12, 2008. It was exactly 11 months after I had walked out of that museum in Washington, D.C. The story I was working on had gained a lot of ground. I had written over one hundred pages but now I was done. I did not know it then, and it would be months later before I understood. On March 11, 2008 I was admitted to the hospital. On March 12, I was told my life was about to change. On March 13, I stopped writing.
Even though I went through the motions and I continued to write, the heart of it was gone. Everything was gone.
My friend Bob asked me the other day how my book was coming. Was I just waiting for somebody else to finish it. "What if they screw it all up and you don't like their ending? Then what are you going to do?" he asked.
My co-workers offer their encouragement. They are convinced that I have a wonderful story. They tell me somebody else is going to write this story if I don't hurry up and finish it.
My wife has always been my biggest supporter. She has stood behind me for months and has never pushed me to go on. She has never once complained about the pile of dishes in the sink or the mountain of laundry that I let steadily grow while I was writing. When I got stuck she would sit me down and we would run it back and forth. The Who What Where When and Why of everything has been as much her as it is me. The words are mine. But she is my silent collaborator.
November 15, 2008
My Silence Is Over.