This is the dinner I prepared after finishing the first draft of a novel called The von Neumann Sisters. My agent is reading it, my workshop is reading it, my husband is reading it. The title is taken from a comment Peter made in a Starship Sofa podcast, when talking about it. He mistook the title I had in mind, but when I thought about it, I realized it was a better fit. But that final moment reflects the beginning of the process: Peter’s the one who told me to write this one. I already had five chapters and a ton of research done on another novel, but that novel was fighting me every step of the way. In the middle of one of our afternoon anime and beer binges (did I mention that my life is great?), while we were talking about another short story I had written about robots, Peter squinted at me and said: “Why don’t you just write about them, instead?” When I told my husband about this conversation, he said: “You have something really special, here. I think you should do it.”
I am nothing if not highly suggestible.
That other novel is still in me, and I think about it every day. But it’s a big, rough book. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to tackle it, yet. There were moments writing vNS that stymied me completely. At one point, I had to turn right around and start over, editing from the first sentence on down until I could get my momentum back. This really hurt, because writing is the thing I do all the time, and if I don’t have a story with me I feel not just naked, but empty and alone. Since finishing this draft, I’ve got the DT’s: I’m alternating between the sense of my head clearing enough to get some damn homework done, finally, and the gnawing absence of what was once a regular, if not always productive, activity.
With that sentiment in mind, please enjoy this video: