After slightly more than two months of waiting, the last piece of furniture we ordered back in December was delivered yesterday. We’re moved in! Finally and completely (though the walls are still a little bare in spots). And to celebrate, we had friends over for dinner last night, proud that the invitation no longer had to be B.Y.O.C. (Bring Your Own Chair). Little by little, with each passing day, I get more and more comfortable in our new home. People ask if it has been difficult adjusting to being back in America. Yes, it has, but not in the ways we often expect. The hardest part has been accepting that I no longer have to spend my days wondering where we’ll be sleeping that night or where we’ll find food. Domestic life, compared to bicycle travel, is just so simple. The most difficult part in our readjustment to this life — one virtually identical to the one we left — has been accepting the lack of stress and concern that had come to roost inside my brain for nearly two years. I had forgotten what it was like to wake up in the morning, free of concerns for the necessities of food and shelter. The trick is to not backfill this void with needless worries and concerns. I’m getting better at this every day; every morning I wake up more comfortable with the fact that comfort is allowed.
This ease does not extend to my professional endeavors, not yet anyway. When it comes to all-things concerning my novel, I’m as antsy and fearful as ever. Writing a novel is hard. And the further along I get the more I realize how complex the story I’m trying to tell is. Fortunately, I’m finding both inspiration and information everywhere, particularly in my pleasure reading of late. I love stumbling across factoids and anecdotes that I realize I can use in one of my character’s backstories or that help me to narrow down or redirect my research. This has happened a lot this week as I read The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief.
Oh, you wonder how a non-fiction account of one of the greatest 19th century thieves could possibly relate to a story inspired by our bicycle journey? You’ll just have to wait to find out in another post. On to the links…
- Old Spines: Why We Love the Smell of Secondhand Books – A parfumier has crafted a scent designed to evoke the memory of wandering the stacks of a used bookstore. The scent, Paperback by Demeter, is said to fill the sensory vacancy left by our transition to reading on Kindles and other e-readers. Read on for why this might be more sensible than whimsy.
- Files I Work With – Steven Pressfield, author of the wonderful Gates of Fire and Legend of Bagger Vance, describes the files he opens on his computer each morning while editing the sixth draft of his upcoming novel. It’s an interesting look into the work process of a successful author. He also devotes a good portion of this blog to the concept of “obligatory scenes and genre conventions” which, if you haven’t read The Story Grid, might be something new for you.
- The Long Game: The Missing Chapter – I’m linking here to the second of a series of three outstanding videos by Adam Westbrook. These videos are about creative genius and the long, quiet, part of each historically significant person’s rise to the top that never gets told. I highly recommend watching all three, as they truly are entertaining and insightful, but if you only have 5 minutes to spare, then watch this one I linked to here. Parts 1 and 3 can be seen in the list of related videos on the right.
- 3 Things I Learned About Writing: Analyzing Stephen King’s IT –Three useful tips for creating suspense and a sense of foreboding by way of IT. It’s a short article by Chuck Sambuchino but one that has some important advice. Better still, it illustrates just how important it is to really pay attention to the techniques being employed by great writers as we try to improve our own abilities.
- Booksellers Pick Their Top Early 2016 Picks – A dozen independent booksellers were queried about the books they’ll be promoting during the early months of 2016. Here’s what they come up with, across a number of genres. Which will you be reading?
Terriers Were Once the Greatest Dogs in the World – A stats-minded look at the rise and fall in popularity of the terrier group as it relates to the most popular breeds of today. Data covers the hundred-plus years of Westminster Dog Shows and more. The article is quite a bit more fascinating (at least to me) than that description may lead you to believe. If you’re a dog lover, hit the link.
Post Image by montillon.a, used under Creative Commons