Unwrapping A Novel's Promise

I love the beginning of a novel.

It holds such promise, such unexpected blessings. It's like a Christmas present, all wrapped and sitting under the tree. Carefully, I give the box a shake, trying to figure out what might be inside. This is what I do to my novel the week before NaNo (or for the entire month of October, if I'm organized and have my present wrapped ahead of time).

When November arrives, I get to unwrap my present in many, painstaking stages. 

November first, I get to remove the bow. I set it aside, the present's adornment quickly forgotten as I focus on what might be inside.

Then, I peel off the ribbons--deliberately, tentatively--unsure of whether it might fray or dissipate under my eager, grasping fingers.

But when the ribbons come off in one piece, I toss them with the bow, where they'll wait. I can see them hoping they might come in handy, as if thinking I might want to rewrap the present after I open it, to once again adorn the present inside.

Then I turn my attention to the tape. I'm a notorious taper, and cement my presents in its sticky residue. So I take my time with this, peeling off tape carefully and trying not to rip the paper. I also like to reuse my paper--especially if it's pretty or distinctive.

When I get the paper off, I fold it along the creases--I don't want to get it too raggedy for the next use. I might have a box sometime which this piece of paper will just fit, so I want it to be in good shape for the next time.

Now, I have a brown box in front of me. Another piece of tape, carefully slit so that it doesn't tear. The tension in my heart is building. Pounding, my mouth goes slightly dry with anticipation. Here it is--all I have to do is open the box.