(Well first, holy shit, this WordPress editor is all new — I’m playing around with Gutenberg to see how it works, so we’ll see. Hey, drop caps. Midway in: well Gutenberg won’t let me even make a link, so that’s not the function we’re looking for, WordPress.)
They tell you to write what you love. That the love will shine through the work and all will be well. That people will see what you love and how you love and they will also fall in love and it will simply be a lovely explosion in every way possible.
Except sometimes it’s not. I wrote what I loved. I mashed all the things I loved into one glorious thing: ancient Egypt, Victorian steampunk, creepy gods who roam the earth, dogs and dog men, impossible love, honey, correspondence between ladies who are the best of friends, meteorites, ancient astronomy, curses, the divide between real history and the history told by the winners, time travel, weird tombs, glorious food, women who are monsters and the men who love them, mothers and daughters and granddaughters and the ties that bind, the disasters of colonization, girls disguised as boys to make their way in the world, archaeology, skeletons both real and metaphorical, hidden cameos by real life historical people, airships, addictions, awkward and hot gentlemen.
I wrote what I loved and it didn’t really go. Where do you go from there?
Sure, we don’t love one single thing, but it feels like starting all over, doesn’t it? How do we start? It’s too big. How does anyone ever write a novel? And yet, my shelves are full of them.
Okay, that was telling: I typoed “selves are full of them.” And well. Maybe that’s where you start. Because that calls to mind Ani DiFranco’s “32 Flavors.” I am thirty-two flavors and then some.
The new book is one that has plagued me for years — and I don’t know if I’ll talk about it much here. We’ll have to see how it goes. What I do know is, it has started talking to me, maybe because it knows it’s finally on deck. Its time has come. I keep finding fragments of the book everywhere, in other books, in poetry, in the world around me. All signs point to doing this thing, and what’s the other option, really?
As Alex likes to tell me, you’d just be writing another damn novel, so you might as well leap into this one. Because it’s been in my brain for so long. Why not.
A thousand why nots, omg — it could fail like the last one did.
But yeah yeah yeah, it could also fly. Someone said that about something once. Ultimately, it’s the writing we love, no matter how maddening that is. Help me, Jean-Luc, you’re my only hope!