However, there is also a DELUXE giveaway happening over at the blog, which will include a signed copy of The Poppet and the Lune, a high quality print of the original etching used for the book cover, and a signed copy of my short story, A Lover and its Ghosts.
Check out madelineclairefranklin.com to see how to enter!
And guys? I'm on VACATION this week. No work all week, just writing, therapeutic cleaning, lots of coffee shops, and possibly a bikram class. I'm PUMPED.
And you know how the week will end? With A FABULOUS PARTY CALLED MIDSUMMER XD
There is a(n exquisite) passage from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams that I had my childhood friend read at my wedding (yes, it made people cry). I find that something about it is apropriate for my current change of life, and the realizations I'm having about becoming public, and making my books "real."
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
So, my book is not-quite-out-there now, but it is announced. It's got a presence in the real world, and a tentative launch date. It is becoming, and that is a process we all know well. I am becoming along with it- we are all, always, becoming- but I am also already real, to a degree. And my book, my baby, the fruit of my soul, is about to become real as well.
Suddenly I can imagine what it must be like for a parent to leave their first-born at school for the first time, and then college, and then life after that... I want the best for my baby. I want her to meet the people that will love her for who she is, and who will take all the love she has to give. And really, I think I need to foster that same attitude. Like a parent must learn to accept that their own child (though they have put much of themselve into her) is not a reflection of them or who they are, so an author needs to be able to do the same.
There will be many authors who disagree with me, but this is how I tell stories: when I write, I don't write to express myself or who I am; I don't write to impress; I don't write to teach, or express an opinion. I write because a story has come to me, and I feel compelled to do my best to translate that idea into text, and to shape it into something that will most closely resemble the original thought and feeling of the story. But the story is there before I write it.
So, in a way, the resulting book doesn't even belong to me.
Yeah, I did the hard work, and I crafted the words. I shaped the worlds and characters and events. I interpreted the idea. There is a lot of me that goes into everything I write, whether fiction or non. But I can't say that the story itself is mine- it belongs to us all.
This story- The Poppet and the Lune- is about to go out into the world. It's about to be loved, hated, seen as something worn out and ugly, and seen as something striking and beautiful. It's about to leave the nest, and become real. For more people than just myself and those of you who read her as a fledgling web serial.
And that's... kind of amazing. Kind of terrifying, too. But amazing.
So without fanfare I am announcing two things:
1) when I get TPaL back from the editors who are looking at it, I also am going to be self publishing.
2) and then I'm going to spruce up The Hierophant, and get that out there too.
For a slight elaboration, check out my entry on Tell Them Stories.
Karen plays violin in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and she managed to get us free tickets for the Sunday concert which featured On the Waterfront by Leonard Bernstein and Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland. It was amazing. Pittsburgh is one of the top orchestras in the country, and you can tell. Holy crap can you tell.
In other news, I posted on Alchemy on Etsy for my book cover for TPaL, and got a bajillion responses. I was actually surprised with the quality and quantity of responses. I’ve narrowed it down to a few artists, including one paper sculpture artist who I am really in love with. Opinions would be greatly appreciated:
Also… I’m giving up on NaNo. Not because I can’t do it, but because I finally got to the point where the benefits are far less than the effort deserves, at least for this particular novel. I haven’t liked the story since I began, and being 8k behind now, I have no desire to rush to catch up. I know I can write novels in a month, I’ve done it for NaNo and for myself.
I struggled with this decision mostly because I am an ML, after all, and I tout the value of NaNo to one and all. But I feel, perhaps, that I’ve outgrown it. I do, after all, write novels all year long. In fact, I’m even thinking that this might be my last year as a co-municipal liaison. I have felt stifled by the responsibilities this year- like they were more of a burden than a joy. I have been busy, very busy, and the duties of an ML have made me snappish and resentful when I just want to paint, but I go to a write-in anyway, and then only 1 or 2 people show up. It never bothered me before, but I guess things change. Also, I question the wisdom of taking a month off from writing like I did this past October, because I was waiting for NaNo. I wonder if I had gone full speed ahead with my zombie story idea if it would have gone somewhere, instead of fizzling out in my notes while I waited for November.
No big deal. I’m not sad about it, and I know there are plenty of people worthy of the Co-ML position. It’s a chapter of my life that is coming to a close, and that’s good, because it means I’m beginning a new chapter. And I’m all about endings and new beginnings, hence the technicolor phoenix tattooed on my leg ;)
So, I didn't really know how to do that. I just told myself I would, and let it go. I assumed it meant not expected much from myself, but that's not it at all.
This morning as I was writing in my morning pages, I really began to understand. Artists and their projects need several things to truly flourish: a deep, filled well of images and ideas to draw from (not quite inspiration, but similar); a solid foundation in themselves and their mind and heart; and faith. (There are definitely more things but these are what occurred to me today). Winter is the perfect time to gather and build these things.
This winter, in addition to not stressing, I have a lot of inner work to do. I have a lot of research to do, a lot of planning, a lot of thinking, if I am going to truly self publish The Poppet and the Lune. That alone could take up plenty of time and energy, but it's all very singular, very "alone" kind of work. I might share findings I am excited about, but just like writing, I'm in it alone in the end even with the gracious support of friends. Now that we are down to one car, I pick up Jared downtown at 4:30 every day. This means I might as well spend an hour or so at the Buffalo Central Library (once I pay that late fee) researching and reading, at least once or twice a week.
In addition to major goals, I have small goals to address as well. I want to begin taking weekly piano lessons (I've been looking for a while on craigslist), which will mean at least an hour a week for lessons (including travel), and practicing every day. This is something powerful for me- even as an amateur with a "good ear" I have a strong positive response to noodling on the piano or teaching myself new songs, no matter the difficulty. The medium our family is friends with once told me that playing piano was something spirit strongly encouraged me to do, to help foster ideas for writing. It's also something I've just wanted to do forever, and am finally in a financial position where I can afford to :)
There are other small goals as well. I want to begin learning French, and get into habits of exercise, and back to doing Bikram at least once a week. I want to make our home cozier, to build some new traditions for Jared and myself, to make the holidays special for us as our own family as well as with our greater family.
Sarah and I are figuring out the details of beginning our own meditation circle starting in January, every other Wednesday night, which is a medium sized project I suppose, but one I'm very excited for and that leads me into the next thing...
The dreamtime is a time for dreaming. A time to reconnect yourself with Yourself, your higher self, the one who is really pulling all the strings. Spiritually, I feel that I have been called more and more over this past year to truly focus on my spiritual life as a Pagan, to study more pantheons, to maintain a better altar, to really listen to the messages from the divine, and to do all these things within the unique context of what they mean to me (because I'm fairly certain my take on these activities are very different from a lot of pagans). (Also, as a side note, Jared and I had an amazing conversation yesterday about male spirituality and the Norse pantheon, and I'm excited about where it's all going for him!) In my life, one of my most constant and greatest goals has been to deepen the connection I have with the divine and with spirit. It is also something I tend to put aside because there is "so much on my plate." Not this winter.
As for creative acts, I know I can't not write. But I can be playful about it (and shouldn't it always be playful?). I can focus on outlines, very very rough drafts, short stories about the silly concepts Jared and I laugh about when we walk around our neighborhood together. I will be writing, and working on projects, but it will be lightly, with an easy and joyful attitude.
I am thrilled, and I am blessed, and I am looking forward to all that I will accomplish in the coming season, even if it can't be measured in word count.
I'm sure I've envisioned it all to be a lot easier than it really will be, but it's a start. I'm not going to make huge demands on myself. I will only demand that I not watch movies/netflix/hulu before a certain hour, and that I make my forms of entertainment as enriching as possible.
This is awesome because a) people can see our pretty pictures, and b) she LINKED TO MY WEB SERIAL.
I've already had 25 unique views since she posted it!
She's, like, an amazing NYC photographer with a following. Maybe... she knows... an agent or two? ;D
I can dream!
I just wanted to put it out here- if any of you can think of other books or stories that The Poppet and the Lune is similar to (as in feeling, style, etc.), please pass the titles this way. I'm looking for agents/agencies that represent similar work, but the only stories I can think of off hand are by authors who are either dead or un-agented.
Any help would be appreciated!
-Now for Good News: My brother's surgery went well yesterday, thank you all who wished him well! We won't know until next weekend, when the packing is removed, what the hearing situation will be, but the doctor has very high hopes! I found out they took a skin graft from his fore arm and one from behind his ear in order to rebuild everything. WEIRD.
-I have never really stopped loving The Poppet and the Lune, ever since the night I developed the characters in a small coffee shop, in Batavia, NY, with one Sarah Diemer to inspire and cheer me on. It has been a deeply rooted love, though not one so passionate as I've had with others. When we first met, I could hardly wait to begin writing it. And then I did, but then I left the country, and life was so new and strange... and TPaL was there for me, journeyed with me to foreign lands, and foreign coffee shops. TPaL kept the artist in me alive when the rest of me just wanted to drink and dance and go on adventures. And when I came home, things were new and strange again. TPaL wanted me to keep my chin up, to stay excited, but it was hard. I grew distant from TPaL, and even though it was always there, smiling, supporting me, leaving the lights on and the door open, I didn't feel worthy of writing it. I would come back now and then, and try. But each writing session was short, and I knew it wasn't the best it could be. TPaL didn't care. TPaL never judged me. TPaL said "it's okay to write first drafts. It's okay to take time off." Slowly, I began to see TPaL more regularly. There were things about TPaL that I loved, but I didn't understand. Those things began to clarify, and my excitement grew. I wanted TPaL, to be with it, to write it, to pour my soul into it as I once had, but there wasn't time... until Morning Writing began. And now, we are like a happily married couple, newly weds, still flush with young romance, still eager to see each other every day. The commitment is stronger than ever, even though we only see each other an hour a day, five days a week, for our AM rendezvous. And the love is pure, and healthy, and healing.
In other words: I am so happy writing TPaL lately :)
-Jared is going to Syracuse tonight, so I have tonight and Saturday to myself. After I finish unpacking (FINALLY) I think I'll go get the rest of the fabric I need and start to cover the pillows for the love seat. Maybe I'll watch a movie with the kittehs, who will no doubt be after my needle and thread. I'm going to miss my behbeh until Saturday night :c
-Sunday I'm meeting with my friend Amy, who's going to do a test-run on my wedding makeup! hee hee fun! I don't wear a lot of make up usually, so the main challenge is going to be finding a balance between making it worthwhile to have someone do my makeup, and not making me look too made-up, lol.
That's about it folks! Have a fantastic weekend!
ETA: Yay freelance client just emailed and said he'd mail out my payment today. I'm choosing to believe him, because I have faith in humanity ;D
-Tonight, I will be having a random happy awesome springtime ritual, in addition to writer's therapy, with my bestest friend in the world that I am not marrying ;D
-I am, however, marrying my bestest friend in the whole wide world :D
-I had the lunch buffet at Taste of India today, and they were serving all of my favorite dishes! and yes, it was all exquisitely nom-able
-I am once again falling in love with writing TPaL, after our brief separation due to Life Happening Way Too Fast. The characters are unfolding beautifully, and the plot is coming together in ways I hadn't even imagined (I hope that doesn't ruin the magic for you if you're reading it...). I find my mind wandering to other stories on occasion, eager to keep working, which is a good sign! But I promised myself I would finish The Poppet and the Lune before I began to work sincerely on anything else. I've been writing it for over a year now, and it deserves to be my priority. Don't worry, I will post until the end! But I will probably have to take it down when I query agents.
-I'm getting a new phone/contract with Jared in a few weeks! I've had the same piece of crap phone for over 3 years now, and it's about time I got hip with the times. I'm generally not a big gadgety person, but i have to admit I'm excited about having one of those fancy phones with a slidey keyboard and all that. Anyway, it'll be easier to write notes to myself even when I don't have a notebook.
-Possible new kitty? Jared's step sister has a dusty gray cat that they want to get rid of so that they can get a dog (apparently all the dogs they've loved don't do well with cats). He's smushy and lovable, just what we like in a kitty, so I may have 4 boys to take care of soon ;p
That is all :)