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Going Inactive Here

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Hi LJ-friends. I am posting this to let anyone who follows me here know that I am no longer going to be updating this journal (I will still be reading posts by my friends, though). The best way to keep up with me is via my (occasional) posts at

http://devafagan.com/blog/

Or use a feed reader to follow:

http://devafagan.com/feed/

Thanks!

Two Finished Things

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I finished two things this week. This is one of them:


(My first hat! My first cable stitches!)

This is the other:

(Blurred for Spoilers, and because first drafts are not meant for Mortal Eyes)

With both the hat and the novel, I found that I started going faster and faster as I approached the ending, and that has led to the last bits of both projects being a bit messy and wild. Fortunately I can revise the novel, and the top of that hat doesn't really show when I am wearing it, unless I happen to be around enormously tall people.

[Tangent question for my knitter-friends: is it sensible to assume that if the leftover yarn I have weighs more than the finished hat, I could knit another one with it?]

In other news:

My husband and I went to see Cirque du Soleil last month when they were in Boston. The show was Amaluna, and I loved it. The underlying story was loosely based on The Tempest, but with a mostly-female cast (Prospera played a mean electric cello, and had an all-girl backup band and a host of Amazon warriors).

One of my favorite acts of the entire show was "The Balance Goddess": one performer, holding the entire audience captive as she built an enormous structure of carefully balanced wooden ribs. There was a bit of music to start, but eventually it all fell to silence, until all that was left was her breathing. It was absolutely mesmerizing!

This TED video doesn't capture the beauty and power of the live performance, and the performer is not the woman that we saw in Boston, but it's still pretty magical and stunning:


And now I am off to wander around listlessly in post-novel ennui for a bit.

February Updates

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I can tell that I am having a relatively good winter because I have not needed to go out and buy myself consolation tulips to remind myself that Spring is Coming. Though of course now that I've written that, I am consumed with the need to have tulips in the house. [Edit: And now I do. Lovely pink-and-white striped ones.]

But even so, I am really looking forward to April, when the first crocuses and squill start to push up through the snow!

In the meantime, here's what I've been up to in February:

~Writing~
I finished a draft of a NEW BOOK! NEW! Not a revision or a rewrite. NEW!

I am blissfully overusing caps because it feels SO GOOD! The last time I finished a first draft of a brand new book was in 2011 -- since then I've been rewriting and revising that book (which does not have a home yet, alas) and working on various false starts.

Of course, the new book is by no means a perfect book. In fact, I suspect it needs a significant amount of work. Especially the parts where I left behind notes to myself like "Insert major turning point here that will explain why X happens later."

So I spent the second half of the month working on a new outline, brainstorming, reading and re-reading craft articles and books on structure. One of my goals with this revision/rewrite is to really focus on staying true to my characters, and to ensure that the plot is driven by character choices and motivations.

And now that it's March, I'm diving back in again. Wish me luck!

~Reading~
2014 continues to be an excellent reading year for me -- not just the fact that I've been reading more, but the books have been awesome! I keep wanting to take pictures of my to-read pile because I am so excited about all the great books waiting for me.

Here's what I read in February:

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
(Adult Biography) I found this fascinating, sad, inspiring, and disturbing. I have been a fan of Millay's poetry for years, but I never knew much about her life. This is a dense book, but filled with excerpts from letters and diaries. I found it particularly interesting to read accounts of how much of a... glamour... Millay seemed to possess, almost literally enchanting the men and women she encountered. But it was also a bit hard to read in places -- especially those where Millay was dealing with poverty, interpersonal drama, and addiction. Still, a fascinating and truly gifted person, who was fiercely dedicated to her art.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
(Adult Fiction) I loved several of these short stories (including the first two, which was what sucked me in!) and found the writing to be beautiful and evocative throughout. Several of them (the titular "Interpreter of Maladies", "A Real Durwan", "Mrs. Sen's") were a bit too bitter/unresolved for me to really *enjoy*, but they have continued to ripple through my thoughts, and I think perhaps I need a bit more time to fully decide how I feel about them. My overall favorites were "This Blessed House" and "The Third and Final Continent."

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia
(MG Historical Fiction) I enjoyed this every bit as much as the first -- I very much hope there will be a third book! I love the Gaither Sisters!

The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet
(MG Fantasy) Magical, charming, quirky, lovely, and *beautifully* written. I especially loved Maya, who makes mistakes and has faults, but is strong and funny and wonderful. I ached over her worries, especially the ones about her mother. And the vicarious trip to Paris! Both the story and the writing style reminded me a bit of Diana Wynne Jones (a Very Good Thing, for this reader).

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
(MG Fantasy) Deserving of all the accolades. One of my favorite Gaiman books so far. I loved the concept (an orphan being raised in a cemetery by ghosts), but I loved the characters even more.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
(Adult Historical Fiction) This had the feeling of some of my favorite comfort reads, though the WWI and post-war trauma elements added some considerably more uncomfortable moments (as they should). I found it interesting that while Maisie had to deal with a lot of adversity of situation, she is one of those characters (like Anne Shirley) who seem to be almost universally loved by the other characters in her world. Some readers might find this "unrealistic" but I didn't mind. I look forward to reading more in the series!

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
(YA Science Fiction) I enjoyed this even more than the first in the series-- I have a soft spot for "school" books and protags with math/science/tech leanings, and I enjoyed learning more about the world and political structure (even if some of it doesn't entirely make sense if I look at it too closely).

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
(YA Fiction) Amazing voice. The ending did not entirely work for me, but the rest of it made up for that and more.

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro
(Nonfiction/Memoir/Writing Life)
This book worked best for me when I could nibble it off in small bits. There were many essays that I loved and felt instantly true, and others that I found less applicable to my experience of the writing life, as they felt a more oriented toward someone who writes for a living (and does not have a day job, as I do).

~Playing~
One of the best things I did in last month was to spend several hours sliding and flying across a beautiful desert landscape toward a mysterious shining mountain, piecing together the story of a lost civilization, accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack.

Otherwise known as playing the game Journey.

It was just as amazing as promised by those who recommended it. I kind of want to bring everyone into my living room and sit them down and make them play it now, too.

Admittedly, I don't play a lot of video games -- the only one I've completed recently is Sword & Sworcery, which I also loved. In fact I had a stronger personal emotional reaction to S&S (for spoilery reasons) than Journey. But Journey was just plain beautiful to play -- the music, the art, the atmosphere, the story. And in many places it evoked a sort of effervescent joy I never would have expected from a video game.

I don't want to give too much away, but if you have a Playstation and haven't tried Journey yet, or if you are just curious, there are some screenshots and movies on the website I linked above. And if you've already played Journey -- I'd love to hear your thoughts. Did you play it in the online mode? Did you play it more than once? (I kind of want to go through a second time now).

(Special thanks to Gavin and Jenn, who both raved about Journey on Facebook, and convinced me to try it out. Jenn also blogged about it here and here, with some fascinating links to articles about the game, storytelling, and the concept of "flow").

January Updates

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A miscellany of things that have gotten me through this often-cold, often-gray month:

Steampunk Fractals. Go look here!

Making patterns. I would love to see a live performance by this artist!

Knitting! I finally managed to dig out the hat I am working on and figure out how to read a chart (or at least this not-especially-complex chart). I haven't gotten to my first cable stitch, but I am on the way!

January was a really excellent reading month for me -- I managed to finish 11 books in a variety of genres and levels (1 picture book, 1 adult non-fiction, 2 graphic novels, 6 YA and 1 MG). I'd love to keep it up all year!

Two of my favorites this month both have "Summer" in the title, a fact I had not realized until I started typing up this blog post. Apparently my brain is eager for winter to be over! But they are also really good books, so I wanted to mention them here...

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Of everything I read in January, this is the one that has been staying with me most strongly. This MG historical juggles so many different elements: life in the 1960s, the civil rights movement, the Black Panthers, family dynamics, sisterhood, art, poetry. But I think the reason I loved it most was the protag, Delphine. She's just plain awesome, from her fierce dedication to taking care of her two younger sisters (even when they don't want to be taken care of) to her sense of humor and wry observations, to her deep wounds and need to be an 11 year old girl. The only reason I'm not reading the sequel right now is that I'm saving it as a reward for my next writing milestone!

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork
I loved Stork's earlier Marcelo in the Real World, but I think I might actually have liked this one even more. Pancho doesn't necessarily invite the reader to love him, and yet I did, no matter how prickly he was. And I appreciated the absence of false sentimentality, especially involving D.Q., the boy dying of cancer who could easily have been played purely as a sort of Manic Pixie Dream Boy but was much more real.

January was also a good writing month, as evidenced by my latest stickers:



One sticker = 500 words. I'm on the downward slope with this draft, and hoping my momentum will propel me to a finish in February.

I hope January was kind to all of you, too!

2014 Goals

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It's already January 10th, so I should probably post my goals for 2014, especially as I've been enjoying reading everyone else's.

Here's how I did on my goals from 2013:

Finish a new book draft two half drafts
Didn't do this as originally stated. Instead I wrote first chunk of a draft, then rewrote it a different way. My overall wordcount was more than my normal first draft length, so I still feel good about it, though

Knit The One Ring fingerless gloves
I didn't end up knitting the One Ring scarf I had planned, but I revised this goal to be "knit a pair of fingerless gloves and learn to use double-pointed needles" which I did!

Go to Paris
Done!

Read four books I've had on my to-read list forever
Partially done. I did plenty of reading in 2013 but only read one of the books on this list (Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers). I did read the first few chapters of the others, but I wouldn't call it a real strong effort. So they stay on my to-read list!

Send emails to the authors of books I read and love, and blog more recommendations here
Partially done. I did manage to blog about several of my favorite reads, but I failed at sending emails! I know well the joy of reader mail, so I am sorry I didn't do better at this!

Pick strawberries
Done. Nom!

And now here are my goals for 2014:

Finish the Hermione hat
I started knitting this back in July (!)

Avoid watching/reading bad news that has no redeeming qualities
It's one thing to educate myself about world events, but I really don't need to read any more articles about horrible car crashes and murders...

Finish drafting my current writing project
And revise it sufficiently so that I can send it to my critique partners and agent.

Draft (or get a good start on) something new
Ideally something that pushes me in one of the areas I want to improve craft-wise, or explores a new genre.

Send letters to five authors whose books I have read and loved lately

Read at least 25 books by diverse authors and/or about diverse protagonists.

Write up my Paris trip journal

Play Journey
So many of my friends have recommended it (I already bought the soundtrack and use it for writing music) and we now own a PS3!

Reconnect online
I want to reconnect online with my friends (especially the writer-friends I don't see in 3 dimensional life). I've been kind of a hermit for most of the past year or so, and lately I've felt more lonely, missing the awesome folks I used to communicate with. I realized this year that while I read blogs and FB (and occasionally twitter and tumblr) I barely ever post anymore. I want to change that, to reach out, instead of just passively observing. So to start, I'm going to try updating at least three times a week on FB/G+ and at least once a week on my blog for the next month-- then reevaluate. If that doesn't feel comfortable, I'll figure out a replacement goal! Perhaps I will even dust off my unused tumblr account...

Do you all have any goals for 2014? Do you share them online?

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Recent Reads

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I kept trying to put together a "Favorite Books of 2013" post but I just couldn't do it. It was a really good reading year and I read so many wonderful books. So instead, here's a few books I read and loved in the past month or so!

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
If I had to pick one favorite book of 2013 this would be my choice. I'm not sure it would work for everyone but it worked for me. The two things that initially drew me in were:
(1) the main character is an artificial intelligence that once controlled a space ship, as well as hundreds of "ancillaries" created from the bodies of people taken from planets annexed by a sprawling intergalactic empire. Now she's down to just one body, and is on a quest for revenge.
(2) the sprawling intergalactic empire doesn't differentiate for gender in either dress or language (although they do have a concept of male and female, and seem to be some far future version of humanity). This is represented by the main character using "she" and "her" to refer to everyone, except when speaking in a local language where gender is relevant.
I feel like reading this book made my mind bigger-- stretched it out in ways I hadn't even realized it could be stretched. But it was also just plain fun, and I really came to feel for Breq (as the spaceship calls herself in her single form). There's not a lot of big action, but I loved the tension as Breq slowly reveals the painful, heartbreaking events in her past that led to her present situation. This book tells a complete and satisfying story, but I am definitely going to be watching for Leckie's next book (coming later this year I believe), which will continue the story of these characters and their world.
[Adult Science Fiction]

Champion by Marie Lu
This was the third and final book in a trilogy (following Legend and Prodigy). I actually read all three in the past year, and loved them all very much. The two main characters June and Day have wonderfully distinct voices and perspectives (which can be a stumbling block in some dual POV books). I love how the entire series explores power and choice, and doesn't try to give any easy answers. And that while there is a quite lovely romance, it doesn't dominate the plot.
[YA Science Fiction]

Stolen Magic by Stephanie Burgis
This was a great year for third books! It is so hard to write a compelling book, let alone a compelling SERIES, but I adored every one of the Kat books, including this one. I love how Kat herself continues to develop -- growing older and wiser but still remaining as spunky and loyal and fierce and wonderful as she ever was. I especially loved how so many of the ongoing character threads were brought together in this book, and resolved in a way that was satisfying and believable. If I were queen of the world I would commission another three books about Kat and her sisters!
[Middle Grade Historical Fantasy]

These Broken Stars by Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman
This one had a lot of buzz and for me it totally deserved it. I downloaded a sample to my ereader and immediately had to go buy the full book. Very readable! [YA Science Fiction]

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
I think my fairy book-mother was looking out for me on this one. I was in one of those states when you know you want a particular type of book but you aren't entirely sure what. I kind of wanted something light and fun, maybe a little like Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, or Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. And I found this, which ended up being perfect: a teen hearthrob boy meets a girl poet from a small, seaside Maine tourist town via a mistaken email about a pet pig, and they become friends (without actually knowing who each other are). Then boy tracks girl down, and hijinks ensue. [YA Contemporary Realistic]

What have you read lately and enjoyed? I still have some holiday gift certificates to spend! :-)

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2013 Reading Stats

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This was the year I really fell in love with reading ebooks. I do still love paper books. (Reading in the bathtub is one of my favorite indulgences and I am not quite brave or foolish enough to read my tablet when submerged in gallons of slippery, soapy hot water). But it's just so convenient to be able to read my tablet in bed without a light, especially if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep. I find myself avoiding large, heavy hardbacks and fat fantasy novels that I have on my to-read shelf, partly because I just don't like having to balance them awkwardly in my hand.

I knew I had passed some sort of threshold when I was trying to read a physical book this fall, and I tried to tap the right edge of the page to make it turn.

There are things I don't like about ebooks: that my library is spread across five different reading apps, that sometimes the formatting is wonky, that I can't lend most of them. But overall, I expect I will continue to buy more ebooks in 2014, and save my physical book-buying for nonfiction, books with pictures and particular favorites.

Some overall reading stats for 2013:

Total books read: 73 Books (not including a half-dozen manuscripts for critique).

Breakdown by Source/Type:
25 owned physical (14 of these were re-reads)
23 owned ebook
22 library physical
1 library ebook
2 audiobooks
1 ARC (advanced reader copy)

Breakdown by Type:
44 YA Fiction
15 Adult Fiction
6 Middle Grade Fiction
4 Graphic Novel (various age levels)
2 Non-Fiction
1 Picture Book Fiction
1 Poetry

My full reading list for 2013 is over on Goodreads.

This was a really enjoyable reading year. I read more of what I wanted. I re-read a lot of beloved favorites. And I think I found more books I really loved because I did a TON of ebook sampling on my Nexus tablet first.

About 20% of the books I read this year were by diverse authors or featured prominant diverse characters. This is comparable to last year, but not as high as I want it to be. I want to make more of an effort in 2014 to seek out diverse books, and especially books by authors who are diverse. I also want to make an effort to read more Middle Grade fiction in 2014. And I want to continue to re-read. I really enjoyed the chance to revisit some of my favorites, and I think the best books reward you over and over again.

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Revitalized

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I love reading other folks' year-end reviews and plans for the new year ahead, so here's mine!

I think the best word to describe 2013 for me is "revitalizing."

I started off 2013 in kind of a low place, feeling as if I was flailing in many ways. I was struggling with ongoing anxiety and depression, and sad that I was in a publishing dry spell. But I finally sought treatment for the anxiety/depression (and I am telling you all this in the hopes that it will encourage other folks to do the same, if you are hesitating). It took time and effort, but by the middle of the year I was actually enjoying life again.

The second half of 2013 was excellent! I went on a lovely writing retreat with one of my long-time critique partners where I got to hang out with a bunch of other awesome writers, swim in a lake formed by a meteor, and spend my days writing. Bob and I visited both our extended families in Minnesota. I explored more of Maine, picked strawberries with my best friend, went sea-kayaking with my brother, and started playing a new LARP campaign with a crew of amazing people. And I got to go back to my beloved Paris for ten days, with my husband and my mom, where I ate all the pastries, saw heaps of beautiful things, and spent hours wandering magical streets.
From Paris 2013


By the end of the year I think (hope!) I've come to terms with the fact that I don't have any new books under contract. It helps to read posts like this one, by Jessica Spotswood (author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles, the third book of which I am dying to read after gobbling up the first two this summer), and be reminded that the only thing I can really control is the writing itself, and that the best reward is the joy that comes from falling in love with a story and trying to record it as faithfully and truly as I can.

It also helped that the end of 2013 brought me some of the coolest reader feedback on my published books I've had so far, including my first actual paper fan mail. Circus Galacticus is on the Sunshine State list in Florida, and I've had some lovely correspondence with readers and teachers and librarians there. I am truly grateful that I do have books out there in the world, and that they are reaching readers.

I wrote 135K new words this year on fiction, a little more than last year. Some of them were on a revision of a book that is searching for a home, but most of them were on something new (still in progress, after a number of false starts). The past two months have been especially good, possibly due to the fact that I started motivating myself with cute stickers:



Hopefully I can keep it up in 2014. I have plenty of stickers!

I wish you all a wonderful New Year!

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Science + Art

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One of my not-so-pet peeves is when people present science and art as being somehow at war with one another, especially when the implication is that science does not involve creativity and imagination, or that art is not a useful way of making sense of our world.

So I was delighted by two different podcasts I listened to, recently, that both delved into aspects of art and science and how they are both creative and help us make sense of the world.

The first was this episode of On Being, an interview with physicist S. James Gates. That link will take you to a transcript, or you can listen to the full podcast via a link on the upper right.

The entire show was fascinating (and delves into pattern-finding as an essential part of human nature, which is a topic dear to my heart) but the part I especially loved was this:

Dr. Gates: It feels as though one makes a discovery of something that was already there. It often feels that way. It's almost like the equations are trying to tell you a story. It's a little bit what I hear about when authors discuss how they work, that when you write a character, then the character at some point begins to take over and begin to determine …

Ms. Tippett: Right. They come to life.

Dr. Gates: Right, come to life, and then gets you to tell the story that the character wants to tell. This sense of finding the mathematics that was already there is very similar to that, I think. That we discover these things, but there's something that seems to be pushing often. I mean, when you do the calculations, it's as if there's an imperative to follow a path and that this path then tells you the deeper story that the equations are trying to get out for us.


I love that notion! That in a way, physicists (and other scientists) are doing something similar to writers (and other artists): using their language to find and reveal truth.

One of my favorite parts of writing are those moments when I feel like the story is alive, that it is telling itself TO ME, rather than me being the one in control and telling it. That it exists independently in some way, with its own truth.

I would be curious what my fellow writers/artists and scientists think of this -- do you feel like the story/pattern is out there already, and you are searching for it, in order to... bear witness to it, in a way?

The other podcast is this one on Musical Language from Radiolab. In particular, the section starting at around 27:30 that asks the question "How does music make us feel things?" and goes on to talk about Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, which caused riots when it was first performed (not because people loved it, but because it was so dissonant!) but later went on to become beloved and acclaimed.

The part that I found especially intriguing is the notion that we are discomfited by sounds that are unfamiliar, that our brains are not used to processing and can't make sense of (find patterns in). But that over time our brains can adapt, and find the patterns, and those unfamiliar things can become beautiful. I can't really do justice to the story here (especially the absolutely adorable voices of neurons trying to make sense of what they are hearing). So if you have any interest in this, please listen to the podcast!

Bringing this back to story-telling, I love it when I find positive characters in fiction who do have an interest in math/science. And I am wondering if any of you folks can recommend any books (esp YA or MG) that features such characters. Bonus points if anyone can suggest a book with a character who is adept at/interested in math/science and is ALSO creative and artistic (musician, writer, poet, painter, etc)!

Rose and Vincent

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As Inigo says, there is too much, let me sum up.

The summer here in Maine is so beautiful I want to revel in it, make every moment count. (Actually, that statement applies to life in general, but is particularly evident when the weather is splendid). So in my non-dayjob and non-writing time, I've been kayaking, picking strawberries, visiting friends and family, swimming, walking in the woods, and glorying in the summer fruits and veggies.

I've also been reading a lot and accumulating a long list of things I want to tell people about (books, blog posts, podcasts). I'll save most of them for later posts, and focus on just three, because they are connected in that strange and wonderful way that things sometimes are. In life, as in writing (and mathematics!) I love it when unexpected patterns suddenly blaze out into significance. It's like I can suddenly hear a tiny bit of the song the universe is singing.

This most recent unexpected pattern sprang out of a sorrow. My grandmother passed away last month. She had a long and rich and happy life, and it was not unexpected, but it was still a hard thing. When I was packing for the trip to New York for the funeral, I decided to bring two books.

One was non-fiction, a collection of letters by Edna St. Vincent Millay, which I had discovered via the wonderful Brain Pickings blog. I'm still working my way through the collection, but I already knew I wanted to own a copy after the first few pages. Vincent (as she calls herself) is a fascinating character, coming so early into relative fame as a poet, traveling to Vassar for college, maintaining vibrant correspondence with other poets and her beloved mother and sisters. I have a particular interest in Millay as she grew up in Camden Maine (very near one of my own childhood homes, in Rockport Maine). I also discovered that one of my favorite modern poets, Mary Oliver, was deeply influenced by Millay and even helped organize her papers, as well as also attending Vassar for a time!

I had only learned about Brain Pickings because a friend had posted a link to this interview with Maria Popova, who writes Brain Pickings. And the quote that made me go subscribe to Brain Pickings was what Ms Popova says here:

Brain Pickings began as my record of what I was learning, and it remains a record of what I continue to learn – the writing is just the vehicle for recording, for making sense.

That said, one thing I’ve honed over the years – in part by countless hours of reading and in part because I suspect it’s how my brain is wired – is drawing connections between things, often things not immediately or obviously related, spanning different disciplines and time periods. I wouldn’t call that “expertise” so much as obsession – it’s something that gives me enormous joy and stimulation, so I do it a great deal, but I don’t know if that constitutes expertise.


Drawing connections! Finding patterns!

The other book I brought with me was ROSE UNDER FIRE, a companion novel to CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, which I read and loved last year. You don't have to read CNV to follow the story of RUF, though RUF does spoil certain plot points in CNV so if you've an interest in reading that, you should probably read it first. I ordered my UK copy from The Book Depository because I couldn't wait for the US release on September 10th!

And I loved it -- perhaps even more than I loved CNV. I found it a hard book to read, because of the honest depiction of human cruelty and brutality. But it is full of such wonderful characters, such love, such true friendships. RUF is the story of a young woman pilot (American, this time), helping the Allied war effort during World War II. Rose is a poet, and it is poetry that helps sustain her (and the other women she meets) during some horrible, harrowing times. Her own poetry, but also that of one of her favorite poets-- Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Then, at the funeral, my uncle asked me to read a poem as part of the service. A poem by Millay. In fact, one of the poems that is quoted in ROSE UNDER FIRE.

I know some patterns are actually probably just coincidences. But I still love them, especially at a time when I am all too aware of death and endings. I think drawing-- seeing, finding-- connections is one of the best things we can do as living, loving creatures. It's part of the reason I write. Because to me, telling stories is also about finding patterns, understanding connections.

So thank you, Grandma, for helping me find patterns. For helping me love the world a little more.

~~~

One of my favorite poems by Millay:


I shall go back again to the bleak shore
And build a little shanty on the sand
In such a way that the extremest band
Of brittle seaweed will escape my door
But by a yard or two, and nevermore
Shall I return to take you by the hand;
I shall be gone to what I understand
And happier than I ever was before.
The love that stood a moment in your eyes,
The words that lay a moment on your tongue,
Are one with all that in a moment dies,
A little under-said and over-sung;
But I shall find the sullen rocks and skies
Unchanged from what they were when I was young.


~~~

And here's a question for the writers out there: if you're working on a draft of something, and you get maybe 75% done and then realize that you want to go back and substantially change some core element that may impact character motivations and subtle stuff (the WHY) in the last 25%, but won't necessarily change the actual events/plot points (the WHAT) do you power through and try to write the last 25% or do you go back and do the rewrite of the beginning first?