The third reason is that I'm currently working on two novels which take most of my currently rare free time. I'm uncertain of my plans for these novels, but really at the moment am just writing because that's what I do. I write. Always. The universe will respond as it sees fit.
The first manuscript, which is three-quarters complete, is a romantic comedy about the grand-daughter of a witch. I haven't any excerpt to share from it, as pretty much all of the book is spoilery, but I can tell you that it includes, amongst other things, old ladies, pretty countryside, crows, a savage vagina, line dancing, poetry discussions, an effigy of Carl Jung, unwarranted Bingo, a very large sword, wild Scottish drumming, tea, and vast quantities of pink crochet. Writing it is a more traditional writery process than I usually follow, and sometimes a little tedious, but I find myself laughing when I read back over it, so that's got to be good, right?
The second manuscript is about a girl in a small, artistic, dream circus. I'm working on it because I don't want to lose my lyrical style altogether while writing comedy; I need the loveliness of words, the feel of broken poetry against my mouth; I need to write something not just that I can write, but that is true to my private heart and the cadences of its wishing. This manuscript is going a great deal more slowly than the other, because I'm using my habitual process: listening, then writing down what I hear the story tell me, or trying to translate into words how it shifts through the air, over my skin, behind my heart. It is the moon to the other novel's sun, it is a bit of magic I am pulling out of my sleeve.
Everyone considered Vera their grandmother. Sure, she would hand you a chocolate with one hand and with the other slap your face, but that was just the old circus way, steeped in wild rain, spiced with campfire smoke and road dust. There was no softness without hard. No magic without knocking steel pegs into the earth until it could take them no further. Vera had walked, tumbled, danced out of wild Eastern landscapes most of them could never imagine, and her vowels still spoke of the long distant time when a circus was, just maybe, a magic knocked out of the earth instead of in.
My beta readers are very enthusiastic about the romantic comedy, but I haven't showed them the circus story, feeling too tender about it at this stage. We'll see what happens. In the meanwhile, I'll try to sit aside a few more dreams for this old online space and anyone kind enough to still be reading here.
painting by Albert Anker Junge