The rains have ceased and the sun is spilling all over the spring green that spreads like a waterlogged blanket outside my window – thankfully the earth always offers the blessings of the spring no matter what hand wild winter chooses to deal. The Vernal Equinox Frog Symphony has been quite vociferous and there’s a ceaseless chatter as the nuthatches and titmice and house sparrows do their courtship dance … male bluebirds dressed to the nines in sapphire and rose show off all of the available living arrangements to prospective mates. Many of the winged ones have tufts of red or black or white hair protruding from full beaks … they’ve found the little banks of spring shedding that’s been coming off the old mare and her pet pony in sheets. I feel like one of the daffies, lifting my face to the light. Spring is here. A little grace.
I thought that this second blog post should be about the novel and the process I’m in the throes of right now, here in between the telling of a story and it’s becoming a Book – after all, ‘Book’ is why this blog even exists. So … I’ll start with a bit about this sea I find myself treading water in now … this vast expanse I’ve never before set foot in, let alone charted but if I read the stars right will lead to the birthing of a Book.
All The Little Graces is my firstborn of this nature and proportion … I have coaxed and coached the birthing, nine times now, of children of musical spirit but they have all come along over a span of many years and have always been gently borne of collaboration with my partner and husband, Paul Kamm. Neat and tidy and beautiful, these recordings can take many years to develop, but the birthing itself always comes easily. This, my new child, was a twinkle in my eye twenty-one years ago, yet after a gestation that spanned a decade it took another six year to come into it’s own. And now that it is here, what a messy little thing it is, leaving a trail behind us of five page synopses here and two page outlines there, ten page summaries and three paragraph query letters –– but these are useful little bits, all tools of persuasion that I must utilize now to entice folk in the ‘world of the business of words’ to read my writing.
I do hope to be published. I want to touch the lives of the animals in a bigger way. We – the book and I – are in the beginnings of a process that will hopefully lead us to that end. We’re thinking big. But in reaching for the stars, there are tricks one must learn in order to find a way through the black holes of the literary universe.
For each agent or publisher willing to accept unsolicited manuscripts there is a different criterion for us authors-in-hope to fulfill in order to come to the chance of having even a bit of our manuscript read. I think that they all have joined forces to conspire against us … perhaps to shorten the queue of hopefuls, eliminating those of us who just can’t bring themselves to, yet again – and again – reinvent their novel by reducing it down to a thickened two pager … or even further, to a bulging, viscous two or three paragraphs. It’s not an easy thing, to jump through hoops with so many words in one’s arms, so I’m learning well how to take a story that spreads 373 pages deep and wide and tell it with few words on even fewer pages, but with as much dignity and color intact as possible.
Actually, the process makes me chuckle and I willingly follow where it leads in the hopes that the long and interesting path will end with a beautifully bound book settling upon your chest as you sink into a peaceful sleep, fueled by Aegean dreams!
So, back to my endless sea, the animals, and to All The Little Graces, my mighty little behemoth, written in honor of all of the lost and abandoned, hungry and abused animals everywhere. Though a fictional account, it is based in truth … on a six week long love affair that my family and I had with a rough little stray dog on a beautiful Greek island in 1990. The animals are like air to me. As essential as Margarita, the stray, is to my tale, the animals are to my being. My daughter, Breelyn, jokes good-naturedly about her sweet, furry siblings, as many as eight at one time who all shared the furniture and our home with her as she grew. Now neither of us can pass by an animal in need without a painful gasp of breath and a deep ache in our hearts demanding we minister aid … now!
They whisper to us from the shadows.
The depths to which all of these furry characters have burrowed into my heart will play out in laughter and sadness on the pages of this blog as the months go by … but in my next post I’ll get back to that one wee scruffy stray, and tell you about her story …