Obviously I needed to get into the head of my main character...meaning I had to get back to shooting hoops, something I hadn't done in over a decade. So I escaped every chance I could get and shot around. Forty-five minutes here, an hour there, and man, sore bloody fingers everywhere. I became obsessed.
Then one day with the sun setting and the outdoor hidden away court getting dark, I tried a hook shot. I do not shoot hook shots because I sort of suck. And it dawned on me. I didn't give a shit about writing this story, not really. I didn't even have a name for my main character. I stood frozen with the ball locked in place with my feet and a scene running over and over in my head. My dad visiting from Colorado passing the ball back and forth with my son in the garage because it was raining outside. "The leukemia makes me tired," he said as he bent down to pick up the ball. Shit.
My dad wasn't going to teach John how to play when John reached his high school years the way he taught me. Those nights on the court with my dad built a relationship I'd never had with him. We talked and laughed. One time I cussed, but we were playing 2 on 2 so it was okay. I wasn't good enough of a player to teach John. That's all I could think before I shut it down, before I gave myself the lie that a paranormal romance writer who loved the world of weird was suddenly going to go straight up contemporary.
I shot around here and there, but it broke my heart a little each time. Then the boys were back in school. I was back at work. Life distanced me from the lie that drove me and the truth that stopped me, and the ball sat in the trunk of my car.
Yesterday after growling at my flat ball, I walked across the street and asked my neighbor if he had a pump. He did. It was the very best feeling to dribble that ball again. I smiled and shot. Maybe I bounced a little I was that happy. And then I tried a terrible hook shot and laughed. It was good stuff.