I have spent most of the non-sleeping, non-working, non-eating-my-friend-Andrew's-kind-of-delicious-Irish-dinner hours working on There Is No Happy Ending (tentative title, but I am very fond of it…) and here are some things I learned.
1. It is so easy to dive into a project and never come up for air, when there is another project, a more urgent project, waiting not so patiently above the surface.
2. One of my characters is named Rory and she is living in Trastevere for the summer, which makes me desperate for the sticky heat and Lungotevere tables of a Rome summer. But Rory is also thinking about taking a year off. Both my editor and The New York Times made me think about this. A gap year is a rising trend and one that makes perfect sense to me. At 18, heading to college, we know nothing other than being in school. Why not give ourselves the chance to make footprints in the world and learn what we want—not what we are supposed to want. (apparently, I am now 18 again)
3. Jacob is a street artist. He is American by birth but he has lived in Rome his whole life. He has no idea where he is from. So when he disappears—and the book is about his disappearance—it makes perfect sense because he did not have roots in any one place. He disappeared from somewhere that he never felt exactly at home—he was never even really able to define home.
4. Mornings are perfect for writing. But what happens when I want to write until my eyelids fall closed and then I have to wake up and be a counselor for nine hours before I can be a writer again? What if I lose something?