I finished my new book last week at midnight. There was an energy to finishing that felt like I was completing a race. My daughter was visiting, my husband was fixing our Internet connection so I could send the novel to my editor who was probably asleep. I shouted, I'm done, leaned back in my chair, and looked at the framed picture of the labyrinth walk that I attempted to walk years ago in San Francisco. I say attempted because when I got to the church, I was rushed. I was supposed to take off my shoes and begin to walk this circuitous path that is symbolic of life — and as you walk it you're supposed to think about your life — all the challenges, all the joys, and the unexpected turns. But, I was rushed, you see, and not interested in full scale self examination. Halfway through the walk I was sure I'd taken a wrong turn — I shrugged, stepped over the lines, and stood at the journey's end feeling really rotten that I'd cheated. I slumped off having flunked the labyrinth.
Ah, but the next day… I got there early, took off my shoes, and slowly began to walk the turns thinking about my life — the rough parts, the lovely parts. I walked the path. Then once more round and quite suddenly I reached the end feeling deep satisfaction.
This is a great deal like writing a novel. The road curls and takes you back where you don't want to go, but you must go back because you have smoothing to do. You must make turns that don't seem right so that you can experience the powerful moments hidden in those odd places. You must think you are almost done and then go all the way around again. And then you step to the end, grinning. Close to Famous is my tenth novel. I always want the process to be easy — it never is. But the story bursts with baked goods, particularly cupcakes. A cupcake brings comfort when the road gets rough.