There is always a sinking feeling after a book ends, in terms of writing it, where you know that all the experiences, tangential and direct, that informed it will never happen to you again. If they do, it won’t be in the same way. Different, in that you’ve felt them, learned them or been hurt by them. Until She Sings took a lot of work to get it to a point where I had something and it feels like my first book in a way that The Love We Make did not. Nothing Keeps Me Anywhere is more informed by my craft, She’s Here, which I am currently editing is already reflecting my experience in terms of changing some character’s names and expanding on narrative colour.
Feelings, essentially. Tommy’s voice is as distinct as John (NKMA) and certainly different from Caitlin (USS).
Lawful Evil is going well, it’s a more terse, ballistic book and where I’ve expanded on the theme, it carries a sweep that I enjoy. I dive into it and everything, everyone else goes away.
I’ve pitched two book ideas on spec to my agent, both quite different from one another as I’m more conscious of stories and their innate connection and appeal. At the moment, I’m writing for no one other than myself, and my agent. For those of you who do read me, I am eternally grateful and without commenting or liking, I presume that you take an interest in what I have to say or who I am.
Writing saves me every day. People let you down, circumstances change but there is always the page. It’s what drags me out of bed at four in the morning, to get pages and editing done before work. Last weekend, when I nearly died, a small part of me was okay with it because I had sent Until She Sings to the agent and it was out there now, a small piece of me that would last as long as there was anyone willing to read it. It is anaesthesia, narcotic and hallucinogen all at once. When I made it my purpose, which sounds grandiose but it’s honest, I was not sure what that would mean. It means that it becomes something you do when you’re broken as well as when you’re whole. It has allowed me to reinvent and explore myself, to hold up a mirror and not be found entirely wanting by it. It’s great when there’s love flowing through you and the sun is shining but that’s easy. Your purpose proves itself when you can still write and everything is going to shit.
In terms of reading, I finished four books by Joyce Carol Oates, who is wonderful and works with a verve and edge that I wonder at in terms of whether I can replicate it or echo it in my own work. I don’t know what I am good at, these days, it’s taking something across the finish line but she has a plethora of skills and her books are poignant, passionate and the delicacy of them hides some real gut-punch writing.
I also finished Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, which was bleakly funny and entirely appropriate to my mood. It takes the tropes of the zombie apocalypse and wields it to informed, satirical observations on the world that was, or in our case is. I finished that book in a day, and started in on Sag Harbour, one of his earlier works, which is a warm, lovely book about adolescence in the 80’s.
So, at the moment, I am productive. I love the process more than the outcome, it is it’s own reward and with how things are for me right now, the process is keeping me going. Thank you for reading.