At the Midpoint of a Novel

A new red mug.

A new red mug.

I’ve hit the midpoint of a new novel, and that’s always a good time to come up for air and take a look around. “Coming up for air” literally as well as figuratively. After my last post–four months ago–I came down with yet another head and chest cold that lingered and eventually morphed into bronchitis. Went to the doc, got the meds, stopped the hacking–and kept on feeling terrible. Work was a slog. Social plans fell to the side. Then my doc decided to leave town and I had to shop for a new one.

My new doctor, a young woman, was easy to talk to, or at least she made me feel that she was listening instead of deciding in advance what was or wasn’t going on with me. She ran tests, took me off some meds, tried new meds, referred me to specialists. And then we hit on a big one and discovered via a pulmonary function test that I have chronic asthma, and have probably had it for a long time. An inhalant immediately improved my air intake (OXYGENpeople!) by twenty percent. I had no idea this was going on–I never had “attacks.” That was two weeks ago.

After adding a twice-daily inhalant and some other things like magnesium supplements and small dietary changes, I quickly started feeling and sleeping better. I’m finally feeling up for more things, like working in the garden and other projects–even writing a blog post. The growing lack of air was insidious, so gradual that I didn’t have a clue it was happening. I only knew that something was wrong.

It took three times longer than it should have to create a second draft of Act I and the first half of Act II, up to the midpoint. It was obvious which parts I wrote while feeling my worst. The story line was there–thanks to exhaustive outlining–but the telling lacked spark. Just like I did.

Hopefully, things are now back on track. They’re certainly a lot more enjoyable. The townhome project next to our house is getting closer to the point that impacts us directly, the grading and landscape treatment of our shared property line. There is now a brick wall on the west end of our garden where there was once an expanse of grass. It has the effect of turning the garden into a courtyard, and fortunately my husband and I both like courtyards. It remains to be seen how the lack of afternoon sun will impact the growth and flowering of my sun-loving plants. But that’s part and parcel of gardening in a city.

In the meantime, we take our coffee breaks on the front porch, where the noise and dust and mess of the construction work is less intrusive. It’s been fun to watch all the dogs taking their people for a walk, clusters of office workers taking fitness breaks, the neighbor on another porch talking way too loudly on his phone, and the little old man going by with a protest sign that says something about protecting the constitution but nothing more specific.

There’s a lot of stories walking around out there, and I’m glad to be able to imagine what they might be.

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6 thoughts on “At the Midpoint of a Novel

  • Teresa

    I’m so glad you found a new doctor who listened and found what was wrong. My goodness, what a difficult time. Happy to hear you’re feeling well again! I sure do love your books, and look forward to each new one!

    • Meg Post author

      Hi Teresa–Thank you. It hasn’t been a fun few months, but things are definitely looking up. I especially enjoy writing the last third or so of a novel, and now I have the energy for it. Thanks so much for being a reader of the Charlotte mysteries and letting me know you’re enjoying them–that gives me a boost, too 🙂

  • Willow

    All I can say is I’m glad you found a good new doctor. (If I say any more, it will turn in to a rant about doctors listening…) And of course I’m glad you are feeling better.
    You two have a great attitude about the construction. In the future I look forward to seeing photos of your courtyard–I’m a fan also.

    • Meg Post author

      Hi Willow–it took a month for my old doctor to send the new doctor my records. When the new doctor looked through them, she caught something about my thyroid biopsy from six years ago that had no followup by an endocrinologist regarding the particular kind of cells that were abnormal. I had no idea about them all this time. Fortunately, they are still okay, but it was unnerving while waiting for a diagnosis. And now asthma. Stuff that should have been caught ages ago. Like you, I could go on a rant.

      I will probably post courtyard pics on Facebook, so keep an eye out there 🙂

  • Elizabeth Spann Craig

    I’m so glad you listened to your body, realized you weren’t improving (and remembered what healthy felt like…hard when you must not have felt 100% for very long), and that your doctor paid attention and ran the tests! Enjoy your good health!

    • Meg Post author

      Hi Elizabeth–That’s just it, remembering what I’m supposed to feel like after so very long. For quite a few years now I have needed help getting up from chairs, or to lean on something, my strength was just fading bit by bit. The other day I had two two-hour bursts of gardening, the first time I’ve been able to do that in years. What a relief! And I’ve taken on some supplemental editing work in the afternoons instead of just collapsing.

      Irony worthy of fiction, but for real: the new doc is moving out of the state in August. Will have to start the search all over again!