In The Writer's World

February/March newsletter

The cruelest month

“February is the cruelest month”…or so says Emma Golden in my second novel, The Difficult Sister. For me, as well as for Emma, it always has been. Local readers know that in addition to snow, we set a record for February rainfall this past month. It also was the first full month of a new administration in which this author learned all kinds of new terms such as “fake news” and “alternative facts“.

A walk in the SNOW on SW Fairmount Drive. Hopefully this is the end of it.

This recent February was a rough one. This recent February I learned to make my bed. It all started with book group, where along with lively discussions about the book of the month and anything else we may have read, I find the comfort of other women. This suggestion came from a list that is circulating about things we can do to just get through our new, alternative world. We can make our beds every day. I tried it. It’s worked as good as anything else has so far. At least the days are getting longer.

The world of books

Seeking escape in any number of ways, I turned to books. I wanted to be in a different century, so I re-read Charlotte Bronte’s epic Jane Eyre. Oh, my word. What an under-the-microscope look into the lives and plights of 19th century women. When I read Jane years ago, little more than a kid, I thought it was romantic. What is romantic about a rich middle-aged buffoon who tests and teases women trying to find one good enough to marry him when he’s already married? Really? I thought that was romantic? No wonder I’m such a mess! Jane, however, is another story. She is principled and loyal. She has her North Star and she sticks to it. On some level, difficult though it may seem and no matter how often she is tested, she knows who she is. Should you feel the need to be in a different century right now, this book does the trick.

I also ripped through three of Jo Nesbo’s during the past several weeks–all part of his Harry Hole (pronounced hoo-leh) series. While the author is Norwegian, Detective Hole often finds himself in exotic locales. The first book in the series, The Bat, is set in Sydney, Australia; Number 2, Cockroaches, in Bangkok, Thailand. Number 6, The Redeemer, is a fascinating look at a veteran of the Balkan Wars turned paid assassin. The stories are complex, the writing excellent. And Hole is a case study himself. Great escapes.

The state of the novel

There are days when I wonder if I’ll ever write again. I know how Hemingway felt. My current project is a fairly dark one, so at the moment it may not be the right one to immerse myself in.

There’s no law. My only deadlines are my own.

If it should prove necessary to pause, then for how long? A month or two? And what will fill the gap? Perhaps just life itself, in the present, as it is meant to be? Am I in danger of never coming back? These are the things that keep me awake in the middle of the night.

But then, there is the tug of Emma Golden. She has a new book about Oregon wineries on the docket. And there will be a release party at an as-yet unnamed winery….and a murder most foul. Emma could be a nice reprieve. Or, maybe I just need a break.

Readers, friends, help me out here.

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  • Rebecca says:

    I’ve been lost in WWII Britain in the Maggie Hope series, but the Hitler references are too close to home to really escape. Sigh.

  • Lisa says:

    I think Emma is calling to you! Not to mention, I need a fix! You will go where you need to go, you always do. Your strength and determination will send you in the right direction, or lead to a time of rest and reflection. Give yourself time and space, enjoy those around you, rely on friends to keep you grounded and TURN OFF the F***ing news, need I say more?

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