Tonight I'm thinking of a dystopian novel--for women. Most of what I write is clearly geared toward the female of the species (deadlier than the male!) but this idea is slowly taking over my brain. I've stopped one manuscript mid-edit to focus on this crazy notion that there's a story in dystopia. About mothers and children, of course.
I love when an idea grabs hold. But letting it take the reins? Notsomuch.
Much of my writing centers around mothers and children. Kids are on my mind constantly because they're constantly in my house, on my lap, sharing my shower, riding on my back, tugging at my hair, in my room, in my clothes,
I know many young parents, and still more parents considering additional children. Several pairs of prospective parents mill around our social circles. I've said to them what I say to you: if you're doubting yourself, do not have children.
If you covet your neighbors' salaries and exotic vacations and material things, do not have children.
If you cannot function (and be courteous) on fewer than five hours' sleep, do not have children.
If you cannot imagine sharing your partner and your sanctuary, do not have children.
If you have an irrepressible temper, do not have children.
If you value peace above all else, do not have children.
You will just make yourself miserable.
If, however, the urge to procreate is overwhelming, and if you can prioritize your life so your needs are dead last, and if you can scarcely imagine the rest of your life without children, go ahead and make some.
And enjoy the ride; it is (almost) pure bliss.
I've never enjoyed New Year's Eve. I've had some memorable moments, like the year I celebrated with a raucous party in Maine and dove into the ocean on New Year's Day. Or the many years we hosted friends for board games, chili and fresh baked bread from noon until midnight. Those were good years.
But I hate that we're celebrating the passage of time. Time isn't real. The new year isn't really a new beginning for anything, merely a continuation of all the days before it.
When we celebrate New Year's Eve, what I hear is, "Congratulations! You are one year closer to death!"
Birthdays are not the same. A birthday gives us one day a year to celebrate each person. I celebrate your life, you celebrate mine, and thank you very much.
Why does the globe celebrate the new year? And why is it more significant than true beginnings: the solstice, an equinox, the first snow?
I'll go along with it, but I won't pretend to enjoy it. I will, however, enjoy my eggnog. From scratch, of course.
Today I'm reading The Family Fang, the fabulous debut novel from Kevin Wilson (Tunneling to the Center of the Earth: Stories). Two children, Annie and Buster, grew up at the heels of performance artists and are now as neurotic and unbalanced as you might expect. (Take note, Marni Kotak.)
I am inspired to write better prose and more interesting circumstances. While Annie and Buster's lives are contrived by their parents, Wilson's prose is anything but contrived. Beautifully crafted, this book is forcing me to look beyond writing about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
Thanks, Kevin Wilson. I look forward to reading more from you.
I'm most interested in people: what drives them, what excites them, and what brings them to their knees. So when I approach a story, I start with characters--usually two--and decide how they fit together. Once I let the characters mill about in my brain for a while, a story emerges, and that's when I start writing.
In my body of work, you won't likely find a zombie apocalypse, surreal drama or tales of heartwrenching woe.
I explore how complicated characters cope with unusual circumstances, and I hope readers become passionate about the characters I introduce.
I blog rarely, because I'm busy writing books. When I do blog, I focus on writing, friendship, family, and books. Because my family's best nicknames are private, I use their birth years for shorthand: