So my July break became my July and August break, which very nearly became my July, August, and September break. But I’m back now. What a wild summer this one was. Lots of wonderful things, lots of sad things, lots of stressful things, lots of exciting things. A summer of highs and lows and not a great deal of rest in between.
But. The book is nearly done. I’m editing it now and have gotten feedback from the first group of readers. I’m nearly ready to send out the first batch of query letters, and begin the long, icky process of rejection and heartbreak that is looking for an agent. (Too negative? Sorry! Just being realistic.) I’m really pleased with this draft, though, and while the book may not be the Next Great American Novel, I’m happy with it. It’s the book I wanted to read. And can I really ask for any more than that?
Now that the novel is coming together, I’m starting the research phase of another book, totally unrelated. At first, starting a new project makes me feel a bit dizzy–the characters from the last novel are still so fresh and alive in my mind, the settings clear, the plot certain. Starting something new is anything but. The characters are impressionistic at best, the setting foggy, the plot all over the place. But I’ve got a premise, and a place to begin. And now that the metaphorical wheels are turning, I’ve got a fair amount of energy too. I forgot how thrilling it can be to start researching a new project!
The picture at the top of this post is a stack of books I checked out from the library, as part of the research phase for the new book. Can you guess where it’s set?
Ha. Jesse once said to me, “I think you come up with book ideas set in places where you want to travel, so you’ll have to go there for research.”
“Bingo,” I said.
These days, Jesse is playing along. We are clumsily trying to learn some Japanese. We know enough words to have the following conversation:
How are you?
My name is Erin Bond.
My name is Jesse Bond.
I’m pleased to meet you.
See you tomorrow?
Yes, see you tomorrow.
We also know the Japanese word for “cat” and “cute.” And there you go. Our entire Japanese vocabulary. Throughout the day, we practice. So, we’ll be pouring cereal for breakfast, and we’ll grin at one another and say, “Konnichiwa! Genki desu ka?” and “Dewa mata ashita!” We say these things in our best Japanese announcer voices, so we end up sounding a little like anime characters. Then, we dissolve into laughter.
So, the new book is off to a nice start.
The fall semester is also off to a nice start. I have four classes, two composition classes and two literature classes. They’re all wonderful. My students this year are particularly smart, eloquent, and talkative. I am pinching myself, I’m so lucky. In the literature classes, we just finished reading Life of Pi, my favorite book.
As I type this, Jesse is playing music on an instrument he made, a cross between a cello and a guitar, and I’m waiting for a phone call from one of my dearest friends, Simona, and the cats are both sleeping. The weekend is coming to a close. Summer is coming to a close. The semester is under way, but soon enough it will be wrapping up, and another will be beginning. One book is nearing completion, and another is just coming to life. Some things are changing, and some are staying the same, and I suppose that’s the whole of life right there.
Sayonara, for now.