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On the edge of autumn
Greetings, fellow humans,
I hope this missive finds you well and alive, or at least hanging in there. It’s the season of harvests, but I find myself in a bit of a fallow period while I wait for the edits on The Folded Sky to land.
I wrote about a third of a novella and realized that there wasn’t enough there there to justify its existence so I stuck it in a box to think about what it wanted to be when it grew up, and now I am puttering with a Hacksilver story that might be a novella or a novelette (probably a novelette), but which is making me suspicious that what I actually have on my hands, when combined with the other two Hacksilver stories (“Hacksilver” and “The Red Mother”) is a fix-up novel, or at least the start of one.
Which, get in line, buddy! Because I have half a mystery written and—once I cut the fluff and nattering out—about a third of Angel Maker, the Karen Memory novel I plan to kickstart once it’s written. And then there’s the near-future SF novel that I need to get a draft of, because I do really feel like it’s going to be gangbusters.
Not to mention the next White Space book, tentatively entitled Shipwreck Star. My brain handed me a chunk of that last night.
It’s interesting, this feeling that I am waiting for my brain to come up with the next thing, and to develop some enthusiasm for the process. And forcing myself to wait for ripeness rather than pushing through in a hurry is… well, antithetical to how I’ve always worked before.
But perhaps it’s mature wisdom. Perhaps I’m outgrowing the hustle, even if I haven’t yet outgrown the anxiety that I should be hustling. Sometimes, after all, you just need time for ideas to develop. For the wine of thought to age to proper complexity and depth.
It’s a problem with the industry, I think. There’s so much pressure to get a book out every year, every nine months, every six months… that we rush through, force ourselves to work when the ideas aren’t ready, serve up half-baked cakes and half-risen bread. But art takes time: creativity takes time.
Time, and rest.
The looming outline of Autumn is a reminder, as the first leaves start to turn here in Southern New England, as the horses begin to fuzz up for winter. As the melons and corn come in to harvest, as the tomatoes are bountiful for a brief time and so, so sweet…. all this took time. This is a process that started last Autumn, and to be honest years and years ago, with amending soil and weeding and planting cover crops and building greenhouses.
So I’m letting it be, and I’m puttering, and I’m giving it time—despite the little voice in my head that says You should be producing, there are so many things you want to make and it feels so good to have to have things done. Despite the pressure to act.
We need to hold space open in which the magic can happen. That’s the thing about magic: it does what it wants. You can’t just reach out and squeeze it in your hand. It’ll crush if you try. Or squirt away. Or dodge, and leave you with nothing but empty fingers dusted with butterfly scales.
I hope you’re finding some magic in the end of summer.
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