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May 10

Writing down the book in my head; it’s time

“The story I am writing exists in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it.” – Jules Renard, 1895

Did you ever receive a nudge from the universe, a feeling or a knowing that you absolutely must do something?

Well this week, I didn’t have a simple nudge, I had a shove, and it all had to do with writing a book that exists in “absolutely perfect fashion, some place in the air”.

I got the message—it’s time for me to write down that book, a true story that lives in my head.

The story begins in World War II along the border between northern Italy and what was then Yugoslavia, a politically volatile and dangerous area in which a third world war almost broke out. It’s a tale of unrequited love between a colonel and a Red Cross captain, of danger, redemption and reunion, core elements of any good ‘page turner’. I like to think of it as a blend of “Saving Private Ryan” and “Bridges of Madison County.”

But let’s back up to March of this year when I wrote a column about entering “Pitchapalooza Redux – The Book Doctors Return”, a contest sponsored by Rainy Day Books at Unity on the Plaza. There a panel of publishing experts gave a limited number of participants one minute to pitch their book ideas. Think of it as American Idol for books, if you will.

Suffice to say, I didn’t win the prize, a meeting with a publisher. However, I was awarded a 20-minute telephone interview (that happened this week) with the “Book Doctors”, a husband and wife author-agent team.

Enter the nudge; no make that a shove, from the universe.

“The Book Doctors’ actually remembered my pitch from Pitchapalooza on the Plaza. One of them, after giving the promised guidance and advice, asked me to submit my manuscript. That was not promised by them and never expected on my part.

“Uh, manuscript,” I mumbled?

“This book exists “some place in the air’, but is not on paper yet,” I admitted with just a little bit of embarrassment.

And thus began 20 minutes of clear, bullet-point guidance from ‘The Book Doctors’ who made it so much easier for me to figure out how to begin, what to send to them, even if it is only a chapter or two, and how to organize the book. They will wait on me, and therein lies the ‘shove’.

When I wrote the column in March about my Pitchapalooza experience, I quoted award-winning novelist Toni Morrison who once said, “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

And so, I guess I will, or at the very least, I will try.

With that dear readers, I must tell you that I have decided to take a leave from writing my weekly column. Let’s call it a hiatus, “a break in something where there should be continuity.” I wish I could provide that continuity, but for now I will need to take a step back from writing Full Circle in order to devote my full creative energy to the book. Let’s just blame it on aging and not being able to do multiple things at once anymore. Those of you of a certain age will completely understand.

The Examiner has graciously agreed to this plan and will run some of my favorite archived Full Circle columns as we go along. And from time to time, I will check in with an update on the progress of the book. And, you can always find selected archived columns and future updates on my blogsite at www.kayhoflander.com.

It will be an arduous journey, writing down that book in my head, but it’s time.