I don’t like to overthink my writing habits too much but music is very important to me both during a writing session and after. For See What I Have Done I listened to the same songs (adding very few to the playlist) for eleven years.
It’s time again to live in an aural loop until a book is complete. Here is a small sample of music for Blue Mountain that I will be listening to until it becomes a skin, the tip of a pen:
Below is a very small selection of songs I like listening to after a day of writing. They change all the time (unlike the loop). This week I listened to:
I often forget I should regularly post to this blog. I’m working on a new post about Lizzie Borden and writing history ( I figured rather than my usual ramblings, I should, you know, plan a post ) but felt like adding some photos here today. I’m in my composting and early writing phase of my new novel and that has led me to be drawn to particular images as I walk around and explore. All of these are foundations for theme and aesthetic but may not necessarily turn up in the novel in quite the way you imagine.
WARNING: Some of these photos are of dead animals I came across while walking and may not be your thing.
In the lead-up to my child’s birth, I’d set myself the task to finish yet another draft of my manuscript and send it out to a publisher. I had already written five, six or more drafts over seven years about the Lizzie Borden case. Now that I was pregnant the current drafting felt different, urgent: I had convinced myself that if I didn’t finish it then and there I never would. Writer friends who were parents warned me that once the baby came, I’d have no time for anything else. The brain would no longer have the capacity to move beyond itself. I may not even know who I was.
I don’t think I’ve ever truly known when to walk away from the work, think of it as done. This may explain why it takes me too long to finish a novel or a short story: this created planet, spinning on its axis, keeps falling into rhythms of day and night that I then eventually accept that’s the way things are, that I have to continue living in the world long after I have to so that the story I’ve told feels authentic, alive.
Even today I thought of new ways I could make Lizzie grow into that house on Second Street, make it small like a pocket: there she is hiding dirty clothes in the walls; there rubbing her back against a door knob; there singing at the top of her lungs; there holding clandestine dinner parties while Andrew and Abby are at the Swansea property; there at night going up to the attic to watch Bridget sleep.
First there were pigeons, now half eaten pears (Tinder Press, UK). There’s nothing like rotting fruit to set a scene
I’ll write more about this at another stage but for now, this is the Australian cover of SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE (Hachette 2017) and it’s a thing of beauty. It was designed by the amazingly talented Josh Durham over at Design by Committee