Me and Barack

Oh, it’s been an exciting month.  Mostly for Obama, but for me too.  I’m a few chapters shy of being done editing my novel for the FINAL time.  In fact, I’ve set myself a goal:  I’ll be finished by the time Obama is elected President.  If he loses — well, he isn’t going to lose, that’s all I can say about that.   The time to get stuff done is right now.  Not four years from now.  

Nothing like hitching your very small wagon to a juggernaut.  I regret that I am unable to come up with any better metaphor for my slightly ridiculous and possibly unlucky goal — it’s the best I can do while I’m whacking away at my keyboard, trying to make sure that I didn’t call people by one name in the beginning and a different name in the end.  I’ve wiped out one entire relationship and replaced it with a far, far better one, even if it doesn’t seem to be about to end happily.  People are having more sex than they did in any other draft of this novel.  It is suggestive, rather than anatomical sex, I’d like to assure you, in case you’re worried I’ve taken a month off to write porn.  The minor characters are now, officially, a lot more real, even if they don’t get to be real for a lot of pages.  The weather changes more, as do the points of view of some of the chapters.  People drink an awful lot of coffee and ice water and beer in this book.  They eat sausages and candied peanuts more than any other kind of food.  (Brown bread and leberwurst make an appearance.  So does a cake.)  An adolescent appears and re-appears.   Spelling?  Check.  Grammar?  Check.  German words?  Check.  Czech people?  (sorry, that’s not really funny — but there are a lot of Czech characters. ) 

So that’s it, then:  I’m typing, typing, typing.  I’m also eating Halloween candy and hoping I didn’t jinx the entire presidential election by confidently predicting that both Barack and I will be finished with the thing we’ve been working on for a long time by midnight tomorrow.  I think hope is a great thing — and I’m going with it today.  I know many people feel it is best to be restrained and concerned today, and some are even spinning out scenarios in which McCain will somehow snatch this victory from Obama.  That strikes me as terribly unlikely.  This feeling that good things won’t happen, that people won’t vote out of the best in them, but instead will go into the voting booth and suddenly become racist and fearful makes a lot of sense given the nightmare that has been American politics in the last eight years.  But bad things aren’t going to happen tomorrow.  It is Obama’s singular achievement to have made that unlikely to occur, and it is one reason he is going to be a great president.  So, while I am not celebrating something that hasn’t occurred yet, I think it’s equally important to go into the next day or so paying attention to something that’s so new and different it’s hard to believe it’s happening.  But it is.  Obama marks a paradigm shift in American politics, an enormously hopeful one.  And that is something to be proud of and confident about, for the first time in a long time. 

And how have all of you been? 

(Wednesday I have lots of exciting writing news about OTHER PEOPLE to report.  Interviews to post.  Books to write about.  It’s so lovely to almost, almost, almost be where I want to be.)

16 thoughts on “Me and Barack

  1. Welcome back!

    And yes, you and Obama WILL win.

    And yes, it all gives me goosebumps.

    American leadership has been such an embarrassment and tragedy for so long, I am delighted to believe that it will really change and that we will help change it.

    E actually drew the line on the absentee ballot that’s our very personal contribution to this win. Gave me goosebumps…that my son drew the line pointing (literally) to [his] new future!

    –op

  2. That line on my ballot is about as dark as it could be made without ripping through the page. I have jury duty tomorrow, and I’m dropping off my ballot on my way there. What a day of citizen-duty, huh?! It’s all very exciting.

  3. Welcome back! You and Barack are indeed a winning combination.

    I’m still a little on edge about the election. But then I remember the wise advice aliceacademic referred to in her comment to your Lipstick post, it’s here for anyone who missed it:

    http://punditkitchen.com/2008/09/05/political-pictures-barack-obama-chill-out-got-this/

    It’s so, so tragic that Barack’s grandmother passed away on the eve of his triumph. But he will triumph. As you said, Barack’s singular achievement is, for the first time in a long, long time, to render the lies and smears ineffective. Smart is back.

    Good luck to you both. Your success will be our success!

  4. I think that’s a brilliant idea. I may do it too — I’m doing NaNoWriMo so I should have 50,000 words by the end of the month. If I succeed, then wrapping up a draft by inauguration day should be doable.

    If McCain is elected, all bets are off. I will be far too depressed to write anything.

  5. Congratulations, Lily, and so good to see you back here!

    I am wound up tight tonight, but reading your post has helped me relax and feel quietly (not smugly) confident.

    As nasty as the opposition has been, I feel patriotic to have participated in this historic election, and to witness the sea-change, and I’m all weepy about it. To the polls!

    xo
    E.

  6. I am so excited to vote today I can’t stand it. I was going to go in early but I have the day off and our city is requesting that if at all possible, to not vote during the morning and after work, so I will make my leisurely way over there in a few hours. I am SO excited. Go Obama!

  7. Halloween candy is a wellknown and tested aid to writing (M&Ms are my drug of choice). I’ve got my fingers crossed every which way.

  8. Oh, both of these things are so exciting, Lily! Barack Obama AND your revisions being finished. And your book sounds just wonderful–delicious and interesting and populated with fascinating people. I can’t wait until Obama is really president–and I can’t wait to read your book! This is a sterling achievement!

  9. Sandi — TODAY IS A HUGE DAY FOR YOU! Your book is out. Tomorrow, when he’s done counting the votes, Barack will be reading it. If he’s not, it’s only because it’s sold out because I bought so many copies of it on Amazon. Congratulations! I have more to say about this tomorrow. And believe me, I’ll be saying it.

    Lucette, Every time I eat a piece of Halloween candy I have a huge, huge guilt attack because I’m eating the candy of my children, and they’re old enough to be really mad at me if they find out. So, shhhhhh. And thank you for the crossing of the fingers. It helps!

    Yay Courtney. I hope your voting experience was a fulfilling one. And that you get a good sticker from you voter volunteer people.

    Thank you Edwin — and, hey, nice avatar there.

    To the polls indeed, dear Elizabeth. It’s a hugely important day in history and very exciting to be here as it’s happening.

    Lokesh, as always your comments make me so happy! (And thank you for that link!)

    Hey Lisa, It’s nice to be back. I miss blogging when I’m not around. xoxo, L

    Why thank you, Ms. Marie. And happy Voting day!

  10. Glad to see you back in the blog-world. From the point of view of a foreigner on the other side of the Atlantic, I can’t wait till you guys go vote and decide! We all feel the same excitement even if it’s not our president. I’ve gone to sleep yesterday night, knowing already that by the time I’d wake up things would have changed for the better!

  11. Great goal, Bloglily. I was planning an end of November revision finish for my novel, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I think I might be able to do end of the year, or maybe end of January… Good luck on yours.

  12. Hello DBD Writer — End of January sounds like a fabulous goal. Even if the deadline moves (as mine did — from July 15 to November 4!), it is good, I think, to have a date in mind.

    Hey Ben. Thanks! It was great mailing it off.

    Dear Pauline, It feels truly wonderful to be a citizen of this country, where for too long we were on such a difficult and tragically wrong course.

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