It’s spring 2016. I’m twenty-six and have recently moved back in with my mom, her boyfriend, and the two cats. I spend most of my time at the desk in the bedroom I first moved into at nine years old. The walls are a sage green, just as the walls at the apartment I left behind in Los Angeles were. I have, quite frankly, no idea what I’m doing.
My cousin is encouraging me to write a book, or a memoir to be exact. The screenplay I completed in the winter needs too much work and some distance from my mind. The poetry and short prose I’m writing is nothing but an exercise of creativity. Maybe, I think, there’s something to this book idea.
I begin to jot memories into a notebook—each page belonging to a different chapter of my strange life. I quickly discover, though, that this is something I’m not ready for. I don’t feel like I’ve earned it. So I decide to write a novel instead.
I begin on May 13, but progress is slow—almost non-existent—until the late fall, when suddenly I’m writing thousands of words a day, driving Mom and Gary crazy trekking up and down the stairs all night for another cup of tea. I work sometimes until seven in the morning.
I finish the first draft on January 8, 2017. As the days lead up to it, I know that’s when I’ll type that final period. The coincidence of it would be too much for the Universe to pass up. January 8 is important to me, and it’s important to the story. But this isn’t the place to share why.
Over the course of the next three and a half years, I return to that novel, between stretches of its absence, polishing it up and analyzing every word. I stress over every piece of punctuation, researching the rules and deciding which are worthy of breaking. I change things and then change them back, doubting my talent and wondering if writing is anything more than therapy.
Until finally, recently, I decide it is good enough.
The words, the novel, the story—they are good enough. So I have decided it is time to let go. Because the story of Callahan Thomas is too personal to continue to fret over; it is too engraved into my own. And if I’m going to move on with my life, I need to move on from hers.
So I introduce to you the story of Callahan Thomas, a writer who falls into an unhealthy obsession with the love of her life, and discovers the truth of who she is—and who she doesn’t want to be—along the way.
So very proud and happy!