Here be Dragons, literary con artists, and a little French rap


Dear Reader,

This is what I’ve been working on–an illuminated manuscript. It’s a creative break after a few years spent on novel revisions. A couple of year ago, I wrote a book about a character who has inherited a manuscript in which her predecessors have written just before their deaths, offering advice, challenges, and their own stories. As I prepared to write that character’s story, I realized I couldn’t do it until her manuscript existed. So I typed it up, but it felt sterile and cold as printed font on a screen. This summer, as a break from revision, I’m creating the manuscript. The project poses a number of challenges that I’m truly enjoying–coming up with distinct handwriting for each of twenty two writers, illuminating initials, not getting carpal tunnel syndrome–and when I’ve finished, I plan to go back through and include additional illuminations and glosses by later writers commenting on earlier ones. In other words, like this guy whose work I’ve recently come to respect in a whole new way, I’m faking a medieval manuscript. Once again, I feel I’ve missed my calling by about six or seven hundred years. I should have been a scop or a scribe.

In preparation for teaching an additional French class in the fall, I’m also working on brushing up my French. French music, French films, conversations with a French friend and colleague over coffee as I struggle to mine vocabulary from the murky depths of my memory. I have become probably the only person in my small Southern town who cruises around blaring French rap music.

There is so much in my head–always so much crammed in here and spilling over in journal entries, conversations, stories. But I’ve been struggling for a while now with this blog. I haven’t forgotten it–I think of it often. I just struggle with what to say, who I’m writing for, what the purpose of this even is. Marisa Goudy’s recent post on this subject came at the perfect time, like a different sort of illumination.

And I’ve realized–instead of forcing it, I need to take a big step back. I need to take some time to let it all compost–the sudden difficulty of this process, the pushed-ness of the feeling of having to get a post done when I don’t feel I have anything to say. It’s not even so much that I don’t have anything to say as that I’m questioning what the purpose of saying it is, in the first place.

This feels convoluted. Thanks for bearing with me. The short story is that I’ve realized I need to take a blogging break. I’m going to step back, drink in all the wise and brilliant and beautiful things my blogging friends put out into the world, and just let it be. I need to find my English words as well as my French ones. I’ll be back when I figure out what I’m talking about.



8 thoughts on “Here be Dragons, literary con artists, and a little French rap

  1. Good for you….a mentor of mine said once “you’re still doing the work even when you’re not working.” Even as you pause, the wellspring will be refilling. May it be a nourishing time, and your followers (like me) await the return of you and all your fine words.

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