Notes for the New Year

I kind of love New Year’s. Other holidays make me grumpy, but the new year makes me all contemplative and stuff. I’m thinking about my resolutions for this year, and will probably post something about that soon.

To my readers in Germany: I’ll be visiting you this March (yay!), in Cologne, Leipzig, and possibly other places I don’t want to name yet until I’ve confirmed them. (Fire is coming out in Germany this month — Die Flammende — you’re looking at the cover to the right ^_^.) Also, to my readers in Australia (and maybe even New Zealand, though I’m not sure yet if I’ll be able to swing that): a writer friend of mine has talked me into some travel Down Under in late May or early June. I’m extremely disorganized about planning it at the moment but fully intend it to happen. (It didn’t take much for her to talk me into it. Basically, she said, “I’m doing some events in Australia. Wanna come?” and I was all, “YEE-HAW!”) I’ll post more updates about both of these trips as soon as I have more information.

A lot of you have been waiting patiently for news about Bitterblue. The news is that I continue to work very, very hard on getting her into shape, she continues to be the most difficult book I’ve ever written, and I hope to have more substantial news about timing before too long. I’m very grateful to everyone who isn’t telling me to write faster. I promise you, I could not possibly write faster, I can feel the pressure whether you express it to me or not, and you do me and Bitterblue a kindness if you don’t.

Relatedly — whenever I’m going through a period of being ruthless with my own writing (which is most of the time, lately), I find I can’t turn that tendency off when I’m reading, which means that I become ruthless with other people’s novels as well — which isn’t relaxing, and also makes me feel like I’m working all the time. Consequently, I’ve been reading more nonfiction than usual recently, and also rereading some of the novels I love the most. I trust my love of them, realize that my hypercriticalness is unfair as I read them, and also know that they can take the abuse — and might even help me loosen up a little. I just finished rereading The Tricksters, by Margaret Mahy, which happens to be the book my blog is named after (look at the sidebar on the left if you’re curious about what I mean). Some of the sentences in that book make me gasp.

  • Then they both rushed to cuddle Crumb, though neither of them had wanted to travel in the same car with him because he cried aloud in great, hollow, melodious miaows all the time the car was moving. However, he was so furious at having been confined to a box that he began hissing in little spurts, like a kettle with a slight leak, and ran in under the house where he crouched, staring out at them with a malignant smile.
  • “Much better!” Benny agreed, shooting out a spray of cracker crumbs. “Sorry!” he mumbled, breathing them in and then beginning to choke.
  • But then, somewhere above them, the sky opened and the rain poured straight down. There was no warning. One moment it was dry, then next the air was ruled with lines of water. They were both soaked within seconds. Streams flowed down over Harry’s cheeks and throat. The end of her nose dripped like a faulty tap. They were both astonished to find the outside world capable of touching them in any way, when a moment ago it had felt that they had exclusive rights to act on each other.
  • In fairy tales people put on cloaks of beauty and dread and wonder, but Harry wanted to draw wonder up out of herself.

So expressive. *flops*

A song I’ve been listening to a lot lately: “Viola,” by Girlyman. (Scroll down to the album “remember who i am” and click on “Viola” for a clip.)

Happy new year, everyone :o).