Sunday Morning Coffee

Every Monday morning I wake up and realize that I didn’t do a list the day before. So here you go, the first one in 5 months. So much has happened in that span of time, but maybe I’ll get around to it later. For now here are some things I have read and enjoyed or that have made me think. (This morning I’m drinking a Mexican dark roast I picked up at Sprouts.)

Things I’m Enjoying:

  • We Were Made For These Times: “When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes
  • Roxane Gay: By the Book — If you do nothing else today, take the time to listen to Roxane read her story “North Country.” It is one of my favorites.
  • The best overlooked books of 2016, according to booksellers
  • Peaches, fiction by Georgia Jackson
  • Our Own Dolly Lama: “So I tell them, this life is a tough row for any girl. You may as well tease your hair and wear something shiny.” – Allison Glock
  • Leaving a Religion and a Marriage, and Gaining a Chicken Soup by Talia Levin — I’ve been really into soup lately (most recently made this one) and when this popped up in my email from The New Yorker I clicked on it, expecting a good soup recipe. There’s so much more here.
  • Resistance: the Mythos and the Logos

    This is another way of resistance, and it’s a resistance based on mythos. For those of us who live this way, it’s almost always based on a sense of individual calling, on a need to follow our own integrity and authenticity, on an inability to pretend to be what we are not. It might be a quieter form of resistance – though yes, from time to time we’ll come out of the forest and join the marches and add our voices to the voices of our brothers and sisters who have different skills and gifts.

    But here is our gift to the world: when the battle is finished and the enemies are quietened but the placards are broken and the houses have burned to the ground – we are the ones who will show you, stone by sharp-edged stone, how to build them up again from the foundations. We are the keepers of wisdom, the carriers of stories, the apprentices of the old crafts. When the blackbirds gather, we know what they are saying. It’s what we do; it’s who we are. We carry the resistance forward in our hearts and in our hands.

A Different Point-of-View

No one, in person or online, has asked about the progress of my writing in a long time, probably because I made a few public threats and mentioned that conversations were starting to go like this every time I run into some people I know:

It’s funny, I never realized how a question as simple as, “How many pages do you have?” could make me want to roundhouse kick someone across the face.

But anyway, since I haven’t updated you on this area of my life in some time, I thought I should let you know the thoughts that are going through my head.

  1. The book that I quit my job to write is not the one I’m currently working on. It hasn’t been for a while. The story just seemed to stop for me. I am not done with it, but I think it’s resting for a while.
  2. I went back to that time travel fantasy piece that has been brewing in my head for 5 years. Have you ever written about time travel? I know some people throw fantasy in this pile of “make up whatever you want and write it down” (I used to), but me-oh-my, is it ever more work than that! First, because the sort of time travel I am dealing with in my novel is not anything I have ever dealt with before, nor have I seen it executed in this manner, I feel like I’m walking across a frozen pond. Without giving too much away, the manner in which the people in my novel travel through time is unconventional (yes, this sounds weird) and I’m actually having to think this through and plot it out very carefully.
  3. My protagonist was a [middle-aged] (actual age removed so it doesn’t bring up too many questions 😉 ) man (still is?), but I think my point-of-view may be shifting — to that of his 15-year-old daughter. I did not see this coming, but it makes a lot of sense. Deciding who this is marketed to is a big part of choosing the direction the story will take, and I feel like there may be more universal appeal if it’s from the POV of a teenage girl than from an older man. (Maybe I’ll include both?) That, and because it was her voice and her story that was continuing to fight its way out. When I was plotting out the backstory, I kept coming back to her and what she would be experiencing and how that was most likely the more interesting story.
  4. I am toying with the idea of turning a person who is very good into someone very bad toward the end of the first novel…or somewhere in the middle of the second. Yes, I have this plotted out into a trilogy. But I keep coming back to how I felt [SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t read ALL of The Hunger Gameswith all the things that happened to Peeta. I was very conflicted while reading that and I know how difficult and dangerous it is to take a character who is mostly good and do something very harsh to them. It can be hard to maintain your readers’ trust.

That’s where I’m at right now. I am still really interested in writing a verse novel, and though I know I’ll return to the one I was working on before, part of me wonders if this piece can go that way or if it would be better served with a more traditional style.

Have you ever completely shifted the point-of-view in something that you’re writing? How did it pan out for you?

P.S., Someone please send a white board, Sheldon Cooper, and some serious caffeine so we can figure out this time travel thing.