and now it's april

What have I done with the first three months of this year off? So much. And now it is April and book two of the sixties trilogy is once again under my fingertips. So is a little girl named Cambria Bold. She is seven. She loves to cook. She makes me laugh. She has a little sister named Miss Moss and a dog named Old Dreadful No. 7.  Her best friend is Queen Esther Washington who does not love squash.
April is shaping up to be the month I work on two stories. Maybe three. And, just as I allowed myself to find my rhythms in the first three months of the year, I'm allowing these stories to stand up and shout, to wave wildly at me, to occupy my days (and nights), to insist I sit at the page and take care of them -- all at once, sometimes. It's delightfully ridiculous, and sort of like chasing after an active todder. I'm trying to keep up.

March was for family. We celebrate five family birthdays in a two-week time frame in March. For the first time in ten years, I was home to celebrate every one of them.  And now it's April. The characters that have been brewing in my head for months (years) are capturing my heart and asking for attention. I'm right here, I remind them. Start talkin'. One at a time.

My new friend Cambria reminds me a whole lot of a certain one-year-old I've been hanging around with. Her dog reminds me of my new granddog, Wesley. (Or Westley, as I have been calling him, in honor of Buttercup's true love in The Princess Bride...)

When I think of that one-year-old, I itch to get to the page and write a new picture book I'm calling Abby's Kitchen. Maybe I will. This familiar, welcome itch tells me that new ideas are bubbling up, words are coming, and stories are being born. Finally.

It took the time it took. I'm grateful I had the luxury of that time to be home, to be still, and to listen. The list of what I did from January to March is long and was necessary. Some of that list is reflected in the sidebar of this blog where you can see what I was reading (and doing). The entire list is at my bookstore, here.

I've got a long, long reading list going right now, all culled from my public library. (How much do I love being able to find and hold the books I want online, then send my sweet husband to the library to pick them up? I feel rich. I am.) I've got holds in for another long list.

I'm reading memoir because I love that form of personal narrative and I'm going to write one. I'm reading books about food because I'm learning how to take very good care of myself. I'm reading fiction mostly because I love being held captive in a good storyteller's hands, and partly because I'm looking for models.

And I'm writing. Finally writing forward with book two of the sixties trilogy. There's a girl named Sunny Fairchild in Greenwood, Mississippi in the summer of 1964. A boy named Gillette. Another boy named Raymond. A best friend named Polly. A young woman registering black voters in Greenwood during Freedom Summer. Her name is Jo Ellen Chapman -- you know her already; you met her in Countdown.

There's baseball and Willie Mays and missing Civil Rights workers and a World's Fair and a bus named Further and four boys from Liverpool... I'm right there with them, breathless, listening hard, capturing their stories.

7 comments:

  1. Can't wait to read the results of April-June! THanks again for sharing the process.

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  2. I'm excited to see that your reading list has a couple of books on urban farming! There's so much going on with urban farming. Can't wait to see how it shows up in your stories.

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  3. I'm excited to see that your reading list has a couple of books on urban farming. There's so much going on with urban farming right now. I'm eager to see how it shows up in your stories.

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  4. Whew! I hope your energy is contagious to the far north of New England! I do love to read your posts.

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  5. I love your writing! I cant wait for another book! ( no pressure) :)!!!!!

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  6. Hey Debbie,
    I'm so glad you're are taking some time for you and "home". You have to take time to experience home, life, family and such to refuel yourself (and soak up some inspiration & ideas too.)That granddaughter is precious and you surely want to be there for these early years. You look amazing in the photos, like the Debbie I first met-happy & vibrant. You have your glow back. You made me hungry with all the photos of the delicious looking food too. I've been going through sort of a struggling and renewing of myself and career the last 2 yrs. I've gotten much of my "joy" back and I too had lost myself in the stress & trying to be what someone else wanted me to be. Glad we're both getting back on track. Take care sweet friend! Sue Harris

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  7. Wowee, y'all. I just found these comments "awaiting moderation." I didn't know I had such a place to visit. I'm glad I saw it, and I thank you for writing, and for these kind, kind comments. xoxoxoox

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