When I was fourteen years old, my family moved to England for a few months. We bashed around London, Cambridge, Worthing, Hereford, and Wales, but my favorite place we went was Oxford. Oxford, with its honey colored stone, its air of history and academia, home to writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lewis Carroll. Oxford was magic. One day my family walked to the Eagle and Child Pub, where the Inklings, a writing group that included greats like Tolkien and Lewis, met once a week. I was straggling behind my family, taking in the sights.
That was when I saw a big white van with “Evan Evans & Sons” painted on the side. I remember thinking, “Huh. That sounds like a superhero alias. Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Evan Evans…” That was the day I first met Evan. In the seven years that I have known him, he has been one of my closest friends. Evan is great, but there is a slight hitch in our relationship– he lives inside my head.
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. That summer in England was the first time that I truly felt compelled to write a character’s story. I tried writing Evan’s story five times before things started to fall into place last summer, thanks to, among others, Joseph Conrad, Hans Zimmer, and Michael Chabon. If everything goes according to plan I will complete my first draft of a novel about Evan in less than two weeks.
One of my greatest joys in the past year has been getting to know Evan and the other characters that inhabit his world. One of these characters is a friend of Evan’s named Jenna. Jenna is a runner. She needs to run each day as much as she needs to breathe, running is a part of her and makes her who she is.
Now, I am not much of a runner. I run to exercise and stay healthy, but I don’t necessarily enjoy it. Which has made it difficult in some ways to write about Jenna, who sees it as one of her primary joys. So this summer, I have a list of goals:
- Finish the first draft of my Evan story.
- Edit my Evan story and start drafting a query letter.
- Train for a half marathon.
I am not a runner, as I said. But I am a firm believer in research– hands on research if possible. Which means I have taken up urban exploring thanks to Evan (though that is another story entirely). And, thanks to Jenna, I am going to start training today for the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon, which is on October 12. I have some previous injuries that may hinder me from reaching this goal, but I hope that even if I am not able to run all 13.1 miles, I learn more about Jenna and her passion through this experience. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going!
Does anyone else have some crazy goals for the summer?