Today, for the first time, I'm handing out The Pagani Project to two writer's group friends to read. I've been keeping the book fairly private, but these women have already read some of it during our meetings, so it's not as much of a reveal to them.
I waited until the last minute to print it out. And, as I was scrambling to find 3-hole punch paper and binders, I accidentally discovered drafts of two of my previous novels, Rooster and The Mourning of Satellites. Seeing the second book was particularly surprising, as I wrote it back in 2001 or 2002 and haven't really thought about it since. I flipped through some pages and saw some hand written notes. The material was still familiar.
A wave of disappointment went through me. In at least twelve years I've only finished these three novels, and I'm not sure any of them are good. I tried to get an agent to represent Rooster, but I gave up after 20 or so tries. I felt mortal. I felt like I would never finish my climb up the mountain. My sadness was a calm one. In some ways, I felt like I was at the end of my life looking back and realizing all the dreams I never got around to accomplishing. It was overly dramatic, yes, but that's what I felt as I stacked up the old drafts and put them away.
Handing out The Pagani Project is helping me to move forward again. In the shower last night I got excited about my next work in progress. My friends will have at least a month to read the book. This is the third of a three-way exchange we've been doing. (I volunteered to go last to get more time.) I worry that PP is too elementary, too thin. I worry that the protagonist is dimensionless and that her motivations are unconvincing. I worry that my attempt to capture something that feels real resulted in the capture of something that feels boring.
But forward we go.
What's Peanut eating? A raisin.