Last week I completed a new novel and sent it off to my agent. It is, naturally, the novel that will “save” me, but maybe the saving happened while I was writing it and now that it’s written I need saving all over again.
Since sending off that book I’ve had a lot of doing little: a bunch of aborted blog posts, many hours of cruising the nets, repainting an antique toilet seat, talking to the dog, reading gloriously bad sci-fi, putting off getting a haircut, sorting through old story ideas and fragments—basically, bouncing softly from task to task, finishing little (I’ve been working on that toilet seat for ten days, stripping, sanding, painting, repainting…one day it will be beautiful.) and feeling a bit lost. I did manage to film and post a new book trailer, and that was fun in a feathery sort of way.
My new book comes out in April, there will be a book launch at Wild Rumpus, and a trip out west for the L.A. Times Book Festival, some stuff at AWP here in Minneapolis, and I have a few other things coming up, but until then, I dither.
This is not a bad thing. Yes, I need to write another book. I have a few things started: An alternate history with elves that stalled out on page 120. A novel based on a popular song from the 1990s that is at present one paragraph long. A middle-grade comedy. A darkish mystery novel for grownups. A novel with a profoundly unlikeable protagonist that will require a road trip to Texas. I want to write them all, but I have commitment issue. They all seem impossible, but at the same time, until I pull the trigger, everything is possible.
I’ll be reading from one of these prenatal projects on April 9th at St. Thomas College. Totally WIPped, organized by the formidable Heather Bouwman, will feature several writers reading from their works-in-progress. It is likely that whatever I choose to read will become my next novel, and the cycle will continue.
This in-between time is precious—a time for getting caught up with loved ones, cleaning the laundry room, making ragu alla Bolognese and taking long, aimless walks. I will do all those things and more. Still, there is nothing like diving headfirst into a fresh new novel to give one a sense of purpose. I am looking forward to it.