STATS (As of Day 14)
TOTAL WORDS: 20,663
WORDS PER DAY (AVERAGE): 1,475
First, some housekeeping: this is my 50th blog on this site. Normally, I’d say this is cause for a shrug, but I’m pretty pleased I’ve made it this far. This blog wouldn’t be what it is where it not for you, dear reader. Thanks for coming back and reading my blog.
On to the updates…
I’m still about 2,000 words behind pace, but I’m making enough progress to where I’m chipping away at the word count like a fat kid at a cupcake store. Mmm…cupcakes.
You may recall me complaining mildly in my last blog about being stuck. Yesterday, I started allowing the story to come to me, rather than force the story onto paper, and I made something of a breakthrough: I’m killing off a major character at the beginning of the novel. Yes, my antagonist will die in the first chapter. Don’t worry, he’s not actually going to die, but the reader will think he’s dead. Oh no, I just gave it away!
Breaking this Gordian Knot I’d gotten myself to really unleashed the story, and it allowed me to take a less dark path than what I’d been taking recently. I’m letting Daniel be melancholy, and not a snivelling little bitch about his depression. This has also allowed the satire I’d wanted to be prevalent in the story to finally come to light. I wrote a pretty funny scene in which our hero calls an Employee Assistance Program – he’s “employed” as a superhero, after all, and as an employee, he gets medical benefits…seriously – for a referral to a psychiatrist. The dialogue was pretty snappy. I liked it.
Wanna read this scene? Of course you!
I stayed awake and watched the sun rise from the rooftop. I later went back into the apartment, phone number in hand, but not before pacing somewhat. I dislike talking on the phone to begin with. Finally, I dialed.
“Thank you for calling Meridian Healthcare’s Employee Assistance Program. Your call is important to us. Please listen to our menu options, as our menu options have changed. Press ‘1’ for…” I’m not sure which option to choose, so I press zero for an operator. “Your call may be monitored for quality assurance…”
“Meridian Healthcare, this is Angie speaking. How may I be of assistance to you today?” says the voice on the other line, a bit too cheerful for my tastes this morning. I want to hang up; I can feel my throat tighten.
“Yeah, um…I was calling…um…I need a…a…a referral.”
“Of course, I can help you with that. Can you tell me what kind of referral you’ll be needing.”
“Um…what kind? I don’t understand…”
“What kind of doctor do you need to see? What’s the medical condition you’re seeking treatment for? Do you need to be referred to a primary care physician?”
This should be easy for me, but my head’s swimming right now. I don’t want Angie’s help right now. I take a deep breath. “I’m sorry, I’m not sure how to ask…um…I’m kind of embarrassed…”
“Oh, do you need to see a urologist,” Angie whispers, helpfully. A urologist?
“Oh no no no! I’m fine…down there…yeah…um…oh wow.”
Angie chuckles. “I’m sorry, sir, if I seemed out of line. We can get you the right help you need, and I’m happy to ask you all the right questions. Are you in any kind of physical pain?”
For some reason, I stare at my gut. “No, no physical pain,” I reply. “I…I need to see a therapist.”
“A mental help therapist,” she adds, once again cheerfully but not as loudly this time. “Will you need a therapist, or a medical profession to manage medication.”
“I don’t really know. I’m just depressed, really bad.”
There it was. Someone once said the first step to treating depression is to acknowledge it exists. “I’m sorry to hear that, sir. Um…” I could hear Angie rustling some papers. “Sir, are you in any danger of hurting yourself or someone else?”
“Too late for that,” I blurt.
“Sir? Can you repeat that?”
“Never mind…actually, no, I’m not trying to kill myself or harming someone else. It’s just that I’m very depressed about some people getting hurt over something I did wrong.”
There’s a pause. In my head, I can hear Angie: I know who I’m talking to. She’s saying this in a sing-song voice. I brace myself for the inevitable “Is that you?” question, but, instead, nothing. Just professionalism. “But you’re in no danger right now, is that correct?” she asks. No, I reply.
“I guess I need to see someone who prescribes medicine. Is that a psychiatrist or a psychologist? I can’t ever get that right.”
“A psychiatrist, sir. Okay, can I get your name and social, please?”
“Daniel Torres. ###-##-####.”
“Terrific. One moment while I pull up your account information. Alright, I’m showing that your benefit plan allows you 8 visits at no charge, and all other subsequent visits, should you choose to continue your treatment, will require a $15 copay. Can I have your zip code, please, so I can locate a provider in your area?”
“One moment, please, while I look up a provider. May I put you on hold, Mr. Torres?”
Some more silence. I’m imagining what Angie looks like. Married. Mid-forties. Maybe she’s overweight. 3 kids, ages 10, 7, and 3. Loves needlepoint and baking. She’s been praised for her optimism, but I wonder if she’s truly happy. Is anyone truly happy? My mother asked that once. She said the answer was no. No one was capable of happiness. No one…
“Mr. Torres, thanks for holding. I have the name of a provider in your network. Do you have a pen and paper handy?”
“Hang on,” I reply, looking around slightly frantically for a scrap of paper and something to write with. “Okay, go ahead.”
“Dr. Shawn Stanfield, telephone number 212-###-####. She’s a psychiatrist, and she’s currently taking new patients. Once you make an appointment with Dr. Stanfield, the doctor’s office will file a claim with Meridian, so there’s no paperwork you’ll need to complete, other than whatever paperwork the doctor’s office requires for their purposes. So, again, you’re covered for 8 visits at no cost. Is there anything else I can help you with, Mr. Torres?”
“No,” I sigh. “You’ve been very helpful, Angie.”
“Thank you again for calling Meridian Healthcare, Mr. Torres. You have yourself a very good day.” Her voice is warm and comforting. For some reason, her voice suddenly reminds me of Emma’s voice.
I look around the apartment. I need to clean up, right now. I pick up the piles of clutter I’ve built for myself, throw in some laundry, and grab some cleaners from under the kitchen sink. Several hours later, there are 6 garbage bags piled next to the front door, and not a spot of clutter or trash to be found. The surfaces are clean once again. The apartment smells new, refreshed. The drapes are pulled open, the blinds drawn, there’s sunlight in the apartment in as long as I could remember.
This section, plus more, was the outcome of a two-hour writing frenzy today. 2 hours, 2,228 words. I love it when I’m in the groove like that.
I’ve also written a pretty tight action sequence, but I’ll share that one with you on my next blog. Speaking of which, by the time I post my next blog, this site will have been viewed more than 2,000 times. Not bad for a blog that’s been online for a little more than two months.