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The Deep Edits Are Almost Done

This part of the editing process for me has been intense. I’ve spent almost twelve weeks re-writing The Woman On The Wall and really shifting my mental approach to storytelling.

It’s beautiful, really. I’ve learned so much about myself and discovered that I truly love writing historical thrillers (turns out all of those years of journalism are paying off).

Now, to get it off to the lovely Claire Mulligan for a line edit.

Characterization

After I started working with a developmental editor in late October of 2021, it became very apparent that I would need to complete a pretty hefty re-write of The Woman On The Wall in order to get it to where it needed to be.

First thing up, a reset of the protagonist. I always start by “casting” the characters. It was hugely important to getting to know them again.

Offerings

Several years before my grandmother’s death, she sent me a beautiful silver tray with the words “Chleba naszego powszedniego daj nam dzisiaj” engraved on it. It reads “Give us this day our daily bread,” translated into English.
I understand the meaning of this far beyond any scripture-celebrate that which we look upon at each moment. Today, I offer her beautiful roses to look upon, with gratitude for our mutual love of our Polish ancestry which she passed on to me in so many different ways. #ancestorsspeak
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Spirits of the House

The door slammed shut and I sat straight up in bed, the rest of the house at rest, uninterrupted.
I waited for a moment, lingering on the whir of the fan which seemed to have quadrupled. Was I the only one aware of the cacophony of noises battering half-asleep senses? For a minute, I thought about the onomatopoeia lesson I’d been teaching and laughed until I realized the source of it all.
Rain.
Pounding rain.
Pounding through the windows of the bedroom all over computers and carpets.
The house had woken me up just in time.
An hour later, I sat in the dim 6:30 a.m. light—the kind of light that smacks of a day in which twilight is the zenith point.
The thrum of the morning’s chaos lingered in my temples for little more than a moment.
Had I woken up even a few minutes later, we might have lost Ken’s entire computer system.
In older times, people believed that a house came with a spirit that cared for it as its own.
They can strike fear in many and cause all kinds of problems for humans who disregard them. When acknowledged and the occupants of a home demonstrate a respect for their space, they also can serve as thoughtful guardians who attach themselves to one or all members of a household. Known in different cultures as Lutin, Bichura, Matka Gavia, Ông Táo, Bes, Hestia, and many other names, these spirits exist in almost every folklore in the world. I often think of the Susuwatari (soot sprites) from Totoro and Spirited Away and their sweet mischief.
This morning, I am going to sit in the twilight of day and offer a bit of thanks to the spirit of our new home. It would seem we have found one another and I’m grateful they see me as ally and not intruder.
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Perspective

Perspective is everything.
I’m so destroyed after these last four days.
I’m going to focus on my coffee and a breezy trip to Paris in pictures.
The rest of it will have to wait for later this week because I need a day of not lifting, emptying and sorting.
My aching feet and tender back are making sure I follow my own orders.

Lessons from the Garden

I have a sweet wee chamomile plant in the garden that is as generous as she is beautiful.
This morning’s was my third harvest this season and she is still producing like crazy. Of all of my experiences growing herbs for tea, salves, and culinary goodies, chamomile has taught me so much more than I expected.
Here are some lessons she’s offered up:
1. Sometimes you have to recognize when you are at your zenith and most powerful. Then, shed your blossoms, recharge, and blossom even stronger next time.
2. Periods of dormancy are therapeutic and required to stay alive.
3. What you produce has the potential to be therapeutic if you allow it to be. Otherwise it is ornamental – lovely but fleeting.
4. Growth doesn’t happen without care from others. Allow it and choose people who will understand that symbiotic bond.
5. Pests and invasions and possible failure to thrive is real. Remain diligent in your attention otherwise you may discover too late that which has already sucked the life out of you.
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