Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Pain of Too Much Inspiration

"Have you ever had an idea that is so perfect it just hurts?"
-Eloise at the Plaza
Unfortunately for me, yes. Often I get ideas so perfect they hurt and then consume me because they WILL be worked upon however little I actually want to abandon current projects. Lots of story ideas have come clamoring at me these past couple of weeks as I wrote The Windy Side of Care and went back to finishing edits on Fly Away Home. Autumn always furnishes more inspiration than I know what to do with, so I always store it away like a miser and sort it out later on.
I can't work on a complex story like The Baby while my time is chopped up by schedules and politics and hardly any time to write--Baby is at that tangled stage I come to in every story where only clinging to the mizzenmast and peering through the sleet gets me through; right now I don't have time to cling to any masts so I'm sticking with fleshing out a few other story ideas and seeing what will come next after The Baby. Perhaps I'll even work simultaneously; we shall see. After next week when my schedule clears I intend to put my nose back to the grindstone with him.
The Windy Side of Care has come back from several readers with varying degrees of criticism which I am sure will be wonderful in the editing stages; for the most part I'm encouraged--people seem to like it pretty well and most have assured me that it has twists they never thought a Cinderella-story would take, so that's pleasant to hear; there is only but so much you can do with rags-to-riches bones that still have to have all the fleshing out of classic Cinderella-isms to qualify.
The excellent Bree Holloway is working on a mock-up cover for Fly Away Home which I'm excited about. I've wanted to make a little emblem for it for some time but my skills when it comes to things like that are nil. Soon you'll be able to put a face with FAH. (woo-hoo!)

Of the new story ideas, Murder, Miss Snubbins, Brownstone, and Much Love, Goldfinch are the main troublemakers. Much Love, Goldfinch is set in the thick of WWII and will be an historic spy-thriller for which I'm extremely excited. I have been reading The Secret Armies and garnering much inspiration. WWII has always been a favorite time-period of mine and the whole subject of espionage and Resistance-workers has always enthralled me. You might not know this, but until I was thirteen or so, I was intent on being a spy when I grew up. Ho-ho and all that. I have very little concrete plot for Much Love, Goldfinch, but I am looking forward to seeing what could come of it; the possibilities are endless. Funny enough, Henry IV and Henry V are playing into the inspiration-field too. And Red Dawn and Sophie Scholl. And we can't forget the fellowship in The Lord of the Rings, and the some extent The Zion Chronicles. I've always longed to write a book about a fierce remnant, and Much Love, Goldfinch might become my outlet for this percolating idea that has been teeming around for the last several years.
One of the young  Polish agents in The Secret Armies
I have given you a scrap of letter from the aforementioned just to tease you. Do you think I ought to proceed with caution?

Dear Hog Nose:

In the art of espionage, you’re never asked to know your comrades. In fact, knowing them--really knowing them--is almost as big a mess-up as telling a Gestapo agent to his face he’s a dirty German dog. Did you obey well enough to not be hurt by my capture? I bet so, seeing how you reacted to Jelly’s death: a grim laugh; not a single tear. A “better watch your step, sister,” for me.
But of course I’m Goldfinch--the little bird who taunted big Luftwaffe eagles, bit the Gestapo’s backside, and lived through their tortures to write this letter.
Concentration camps aren’t so bad, and there are several other women here who--if I interpret their screams of pain correctly--did something a heck of lot worse than me. Course I don’t have my toenails anymore, but I didn’t squeal so that’s all right; I was braver than that and to be straight with you, I’m a little surprised. Makes me want to march around this dinky joint singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and get a little exercise to ease the burning pain of being crouched here ad infinitum. I’m tired of darkness and whispering and no showers. Send me a fresh tube of lipstick if you can--mine’s almost out and you know how I hate to see a Fritz without any. Also, I’m craving chocolate bars and my guard swears at me in German when I ask if the Americans have sent me any.
Hog Nose, I’m writing this letter because I know you’ll never get it. I’m not getting out of here and I pray to God you’re never getting in here. That means nothing I can tell you will be any worse than sitting here--eight months since my imprisonment--in complete silence with my secrets for company. All your scooping and digging and you never found out. Well. Guess I won the bet after all.
People used to check weather forecasts--remember that? You and me sitting in the corner of the le cafe rose drinking coffee and talking about rain while waiting for the convoys to come along? Here, the prison grapevine predicts whose turn it is at the shooting squads. You’ll never get this letter, yeah, but I’d better write it anyway before the weatherman calls for Goldfinch.
...Well. Ten minutes and the words won’t come. Forecast clear and no clouds on the horizon just yet. I’ll save my news for another day. Send the lipstick.
Much Love,


Have you set any particular writing goals for October and if so, what are they?


Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

That letter...oh, my! You never cease to amaze me.

Getting distracted by the clamorings of exciting new ideas is one of my greatest shortcomings. Don't tempt me further by making it sound like so much fun! No, I'm just kidding. Whatever works best for you. :)

Anonymous said...

Right there with you, my friend! Too much inspiration! But it's great, & just another facet of the balancing act of life as writers which makes it all the more fun!

Jack said...

I want to read all of your books. They all sound so good, I love the plots you've talked about. I will go broke when you start publishing, I can tell already.