The Muse is unpredictable. The main problem we Writers have with her is when she decides to take a protracted holiday. Although there are some who insist there is no such thing as Writer’s Block, that arrid space of time when no words flow, no ideas bubble up from the lower depths, as one who has gone through this, I assure you it exists. At least for me. The only thing to do is throw yourself into something completely different. For me it was founding the Bloody Words Mystery Conference. That might not be your thing. Just do whatever works! And eventually those batteries will recharge.
Another aspect of that fickle lady is rarely discussed, and that is the one I am experiencing now: the sudden appearance, unbidden, of a very noisy Muse. At night. As I was trying to fall asleep! First it was the sudden rush of ideas for a brand new novel, complete with main characters, plot points, details of backstory and even a few set pieces. Great, you say? No! I am in the middle of another novel! No time for any other creative activity. I can no longer multi-task!
But ideas are precious so I did make notes in a new jazzy notebook, as always with a new project, then put it away and went back to work. Done and dusted, as a friend says. Except I could not get anywhere. Couldn’t concentrate. I kept getting up and wandering around. And then I recognized it. The Muse was addressively back. I remembered that I often get this nervous unsettled feeling when a new project starts. My head fills with a sort of static and I can’t seem to accomplish anything.
But I will not give in! I have a book to finish! And it is not even half done!
How can I fend off that ferocious Muse for a month or so?
Maybe I will hide the notebook. Maybe I will work faster on the old project. Maybe… I will just wait and see what happens. There is no way to completely ignore the Muse!
I started thinking about how things have changed this morning when I noticed people wishing each other Happy Easter. But it’s Good Friday, I said to myself crossly. And it’s 2017, I added. Tempus fugit. And everything changes.
In my memories, Good Friday was a very uncomfortable day. I never knew quite how to behave. It was a sad day, so I shouldn’t laugh or be too obviously happy. But it was called a holiday, usually associated with happy times. Still, stores were closed. Theatres were closed. It seemed that everything was wrapped in grey.
Even church services were gloomy with no galloping or soaring hymns, no wonderful happy anthems of praise. The service was long, with periods of utter silence, and gloom. Luckily we did not stay for the full three hours and coming outside seemed like a great release. But what to do? I couldn’t go visit my best friend or even telephone her. I couldn’t play outside. But I could read! Once again books came to the rescue!
Time passed and things loosened up considerably. Blue laws re Sunday closing disappeared. Theatres and amusements were open on Good Friday, but I was much slower to change. Odd how some things are so ingrained it takes a real effort of will to change, even though the reasons are long forgotten or no longer relevant. Although we were not a particularly religious family, there is something about being brought up as a High Anglican that sinks deep into the soul. I still remember the first time I went to the movies on Good Friday, sometime in my early twenties. I still remember how guilty I felt. But today, should there be a movie I wanted to see, I would go without a thought! Progress! Or perhaps just getting old enough not to care?
“In 1916, New York City quivered on the brink of the modern era. With elegant prose and exquisite period detail, Caro Soles transports the reader back to that complex world, weaving a subtle, utterly enchanting story of betrayal and murder amid the swirl of debutante soirees, motorcar racing, Russian ballet, and social upheaval.”
Barbara Fradkin, award-winning mystery author
We are not sure how old Henry might be, but one thing we know. He is getting on! We were told he was either 6, 7, or maybe 4 when we adopted him from Canadian Dachshund Rescue but the time we didn’t really care. He was happy, Ruby was happy, so it didn’t seem important. Slowly the nose became frosted more and more. He began to slow down, but who really noticed, since we were slowing down too. Then we noticed his fur was thining. A lot. Alapecia, the vet announced. Nothing to be done besides the usual Dr. Maggie’s skin stuff and generous coconut oil massages. But it did not slow down, and now the poor boy has a big bold patch on his side and several small bald patches on his tale. The vet suggested he wear a t-shirt when outside in the summer. Of course he has a coat in the winter, too, but this obvious signal of “getting on” is nothing compared to his eyesight.
Poor Henry can barely see, now. He gets around the house pretty well, since we rarely change anything here. Now and then he will misjudge things and bump into the wall but he rarely runs very fast so he recovers quickly, more so then I do. The eye problem is similar to what people might have but alas I have forgotten the name.
These health problems only accentuate our love for our faithful furry friend, so affectionate and full of character! We have them for such a short time! Hug your hound! And don’t forget those treats!
It seems that Nijinsky is in the air these days! The Ballet Nijinsky is coming up this season at the Four Seasons Centre and I am really looking forward to it even though I have seen it three times. It is an amazing work, interweaving music and dance styles, even costumes from the different periods of his life.
And just a few days ago a friend emailed me to tell me about a book published this January, a novel based on the life of Bronia Nijinska, his sister.
It always amazes me when this happens, when suddenly, seemingly for no reason, everyone starts creating, writing, talking about the same thing. Sometimes it might be annoying, as when a book one has labored over for years, a book completely original to oneself, is finally about to be published and lo and behold, another book arrives on the scene on exactly the same topic!
In my case, I am happy to see all this interest! I must say that if you, the reader, are a true ballet fan you will find much more about the ballet in The Chosen Maiden book then in A Friend of Mr. Nijinsky. After all, the dancer is not the main character in my novel, as you can tell by the title. My hero is Morgan Vanheusen. More about him later!
I am very excited to have a new novel out there in book-land! So far it is the ebook edition, but it’s the same story, same cover, and much easier to pack in your handy dandy e-reader.
This is my first venture into the past, 1916 to be exact, which makes it doubly exciting. Years of research went into this book, some of it never making it etween the covers, but nonetheless all adding to the texture of the period. Things I never knew about, like the Indy 500 Race, in its fifth year in 1916 and a fascination of my hero, Morgan Vanheusen, the friend of the title. What things cost was another interesting tidbit, gleaned from the micro-fiche pages of the New York Times of that year. And the strange absence of much war news or effect on society of that raging hell going on in Europe, except for some ladies to Marne not getting the latest Paris fashion.
I will post more on the period as days go by, hoping to beguile you into lusting after what my novel tells of the story of the hidden chapter of Nijinskys life in New York.
A New Book coming out…And it’s about time!
Vintage portrait of a young men. The shot was taken around 1914 year.
These last few years have been all about the birthing of the wonderful anthology nEvermore!, but now it’s about time to get back to my own writing. Off and on over the years, I have been working on an historical mystery novel which I was loath to part with, it seems. But finally it is off to my publisher and I hope it will soon be moving through all those arcane stages we writers stumble through all the time, editing, re-editing, taking a last look, checking the artwork (if we are lucky enough to have a publisher who gives us the chance) and at last we achieve lift off! And these days things seem to move much faster. The lift off, we hope, will be even more spectacular!
This is my first venture into the distant past, though my agent used to blithely labell most of my work ‘historical’, even though it took place in the time that I think of as yesterday. This one, however, is in the Edwardian period, an era even I do not recall. It is well and truly historical.
I have learned much along the way about how different it is to write a novel like this, but this post is only to whet your appetite and get my feet wet at the same time (not a mixed metaphor, surely?) as we usher in the new year of books, books, and more books!
Happy reading, whatever your choice may be! There are lots of great book out there.
(NOTE: All nEvermore! posts moved to their own page!)