I don’t know what made me think of it today, but I remembered, quite clearly, the moment I realized that I didn’t think the same way my friends did.
It was seventh grade and my BFF at the time and I were in the same “Language Arts” class. I’d suspected that we were clearly on different educational paths for a while. A project was due where we were to make a game board for one of the books we were reading. I’d done mine in the last two or three days before it was due and created something so beautiful that I couldn’t bare to part with it into high school and I’m sure if I look hard I may find some remnants of it in my library…somewhere. My BFF did hers in the same time, but the results were far, far different and she got barely 15 points out of 25 and I got the full 25…and a Check-Plus.
This same friend approached me one day and said “OMG! Look at this book!” She held a copy of Moby Dick that someone behind was showing to other people. I looked at the book and I looked at her, not understanding her point. Then she said, “Look at how many chapters it has! It’s huge!”
To her credit, Moby Dick does have some 135 chapters to it, but many of the chapters are barely a page or two and I mentioned this to her, unimpressed by her amazement of a book with many chapters. I knew in that instant when she was still awed by the “chapterous” book and did not understand my point that, whatever happened, I thought differently and we wouldn’t be sharing many classes going forward. To my credit, I was right.
I think what’s driving this is the haunting thought of word count that’s pressing upon me. I’m currently on Chapter 23 of what was supposed to be 24 total chapters and, while I know I’m on the downward slope of the novel, there’s no way I’m finishing in less than 30 chapters at this point. It’s a little sad since that means I’ll probably have 100-150K words to delete, but I suppose that’s just part of the process.