I don’t know how it happens for you – whether you’re like John Irving and know the last sentence to which you will write, or maybe you hear a character speaking in your mind, maybe it’s just something that gets you so fired up that you can’t not write it.
For me, the beginning of a new project feels like a glimmering somewhere just beyond my pheripheral vision, and oh, good gracious, the world is glimmery back there now.
I can’t tell you how it comes to this except that I find these ideas come when I do three things:
- I spend time every day in my own words. For me, that’s working faithfully on my YA novel. At least 1000 words a day.
- I read inspiring, powerful things. Right now, my strongest inspiration is this amazing, honest, raw, creative, beautiful essay by Karrie Higgins, a woman I am blessed to call “friend.” And Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs is sparking me, too.
- I listen to people who care about what I do. So when Amanda says she will read more about the woman haunting our house, when Ann asks if the woman has been waiting for someone to notice her, I feel that glimmer grow brighter.
I don’t know how this will go forward – there is much research to do, much reading to absorb, many words to put down, and many hours to sit and listen, to walk these floors, to watch for her.
But I’m committed to this path – a new book about the woman I feel here, the enslaved woman I know lived here at least in 1850, the woman whose name I do not yet know.
I could use your help. I’m looking to read books that use research in creative ways (like Karrie’s essay) but that also bring in more creative forms – like dreams and poetry. And if you have books to recommend that talk about ghosts – both scientifically and creatively – I would love to know about them.
Meanwhile, I plan on sitting still in this house a lot more and listening for her. . . for the stories she wants to whisper, or the silence she wants to keep.
What do you think? Would you read this book?
Just a note, I’m committed to finishing the YA novel first, so it’ll be a while for this one, but I plan to start reading and researching right away. 🙂