With the recent publication of ALBATROSS, I’m listening to the wiser voices that tell me I need to come out of seclusion, and make myself more visible to the wider world. I’m not the only odd bird in the world, I’m told. And if those of us strange of feather, different of wing and habit, gather together, well, then, we might comprise a flock. Or, rather, perhaps, a rookery.
So here we are, together, at this place and time. You’ve found me. I’ve found you. Let’s make something!
I’ve been working over the last few days on a short story. It’s a little interlude from the two (egads, yes, two) larger pieces I’m currently involved in: the sequel to Albatross, with R. A. MacAvoy, of course, and a different project altogether, that I can’t tell you much about right now because it’s big and involved and I don’t want to scare Bertie away from the sheer SIZE of the thing.
Anyway: about the story. I wanted to make a little bite-sized something to hand off into the internet, a story snack in passing to say “hello world yes I’m here and I know I’ve been hiding but here’s what I’m thinking.” The stories that usually come to me, though, are large and complex and winding and layered. They are the walk through woods all the morning to the old house hidden under the oak trees, and the drawing of water from the old stone well, and then the complex stew and sourdough bread the old wise woman serves you. The stories that come to me are not a morsel to unwrap and eat by the wayside. (Note to self: have dinner before blogging; the food thing is a bit overdone).
I was resigning myself to “Well, this is just not how I work, so a short story is a good idea perhaps but not for me.” A family emergency and a sudden solo trip by car, however, proved otherwise. I drove for many hours, doing the usual things we do to keep ourselves awake and distracted-but-not-too-much-so on long interstates: podcasts, music, and more music, played too loudly. Then I found myself spinning through long miles of salt marsh in silence, and two of the minor characters in the larger story popped in to say hello. Now that I was finally quiet enough in my mind to hear them. And their story was fun, and nimble, and if I’m quick enough, maybe I’ll capture it. I arrived at my destination with the mes en place for this story all lined up.
And then one of those synchronicities that always seem to signal, to me, a Right Path: a building that is a setting for the story showed up in the real world, that very day, with someone I know living in it, my ultimate destination for the day. Note that this is a newer building than the one in my story, that this particular structure did not even exist when I first conceived it (as an archetype of this sort of building) for the book several years ago. Yet here I was, the day the character inhabitants came to chat with me, physically walking into the place.
So I guess I’d better finish up this story, and send it into the world, because it seems the world is reaching out to meet it.
And I suppose this serves as a reasonable introduction to me, as a writer and artist and person in this world, because it tells you rather a great deal about how I think about stories, their realities, and the other realities that we walk through every day, and how really they may not be so disconnected as we sometimes think.
(If you don’t know about Albatross, pop over to Bertie’s website and say hi and find out more about it: R. A. MacAvoy While you’re there, join us in our conversations about reading and writing and tea and so forth!)