Oh dear. Oh deary me. Oh deary, deary me. Perhaps if I do my very best Stephen Fry impersonation, you will be kind enough to not notice my absence?
Particularly since that absence is now ended?
…or is the resounding chime of crickets a sign that you did not shrivel and dry up without my deathless prose?
Because I am back, my darlings. It’s been a very bad few months for me, and the writing was excised from my life (alongside a measure of sanity) for its and my own good. I’ve thought a lot about it, and wound up talking about writing with a lot of people, so I have some ideas of things to do soon. Mostly things that are not romance, although that won’t be wholly abandoned, not at all. But it is getting a touch dull, so I shall be venturing into other genres. (Okay, yeah, just SF, but we can pretend, right?) I’ll also be blogging every Wednesday again; sometimes about writing, sometimes about any of the frankly millions of other things going on in my life that are often more interesting. Pretty often I’ll feature stupid photos of myself, so be forewarned!
The really big things I’ve missed announcing, though: I Reach Through Time and Touch the Other Side has, of course, been long released now! Dreamspinner Press, speculative fiction, blokes getting it on and a stunning cover by Paul Richmond, which seems to be my usual thing these days. Lots of fun to write and think about, and a love song to the industrial towns of northern Pennsylvania. It should come as a surprise to no one that Diane Arbus took at least one photo in Levittown.
And Erastes wrote an absolutely sparkling review of Young Man in Paris over at Speak Its Name! And thank fuck for that, because I have rarely been so nervous waiting for a review to go live. I’m absolutely chuffed that it was so well received, and particularly that she picked up on the role Paris plays as very much a character in the story. I keep forgetting how much it’s influenced by A Movable Feast, and by a trip to Paris I took about a million years ago. (It’s a story a few years in the making. Apparently half of what I write takes considerable percentages of my life, and the other half gets banged out while waiting for my flight to be called…) Paris couldn’t be anything other than a character in her own right. (And while I don’t have anything planned for Michael and Alex specifically, this world will probably get visited again — there are two characters mentioned in passing who really need their story told.)
And, of course, there is my own self. I’ve spent the last few days tooling around London and Oxford with a friend of mine from America, and it’s shocking to see how much I’ve assimilated here. Although my accent is still pretty noticeably American, if I don’t say much and speak carefully, it’s harder to tell. And even aside from not regularly getting mown down in traffic, or the fact that I know how to order a meal in a pub, or any of the billion other little things I’ve had to learn here, it was startling. I appreciate things that are greatly old, but I don’t feel the need to loudly comment my amazement. (Er, this could just be my personality…) I’m not British, but I’m not American either.
I thought about this a lot when I first moved here. Of course, then I was figuring I’d be moving back in just under three years, and now I’m worrying about visas and jobs, and I have a beautiful house to live in with friends, and a whole circle of beloved people around me. I worried a great deal about what I’d be when I was done here, and of course though I’m not done here, I am something and someone different. I like that I’m not quite one or the other; just like I can’t be reduced to solely being a sailor, a conservator, someone with long legs and red hair. I don’t think I’m a dilettante, but I hope I’m complex.
I found this in a book of writings by Welsh women who had travelled or moved abroad, and copied it into my diary when I first moved here:
“Final beach walk. Final sunset. Overhead the sky’s blue-black, paling towards the horizon. A strip of orange fading to yellow reaches up to touch the blue. The intersection between yellow and blue – that’s the point that fascinates me. It produces a colour which has no name – not green, as you might expect, but a blue-yellow. A colour that’s not quite yellow and not quite blue. A colour that has something of both, but is neither. A colour which, while drawing from its two contrasting origins, is uniques and entirely itself.” (Susan Richardson)
I think I’d hoped at the time, when I was deeply confused and scared, that it would come true. I think it has, but this is just a point on a timeline, so who knows what I’ll be writing about it, this time next year!