Category Archives: musings

I’m floating in a most peculiar way.

image courtesy of bowiesongs.wordpress.com

(This is not a memorial post or an obituary. There are hundreds, thousands of those published by now. This is a personal reflection on what David Bowie meant to me, individually. Your mileage may have varied.)

It took me a while to get my thoughts around David Bowie’s passing. See, he was an unusual important figure in my life–not unusually important, but important in an unusual way. A hero of mine? Maybe a little. A favorite musician? Among several. But his influence and importance did not begin there.

I didn’t relate to Sarah. I related to the Goblin King–strange, outcast, scheming. Always wanting what he cannot have. Desperate for a certain kind of love. And yet, so undefined, so ready to absorb all of our projections onto his character. Vague, but limitless. Dreamlike. Sure, a character created by Terry Jones and Dennis Lee, but brought to life by the man himself.

And when I was older and I had the world of music at my fingertips, it was not his rock ‘n’ roll suicide that captured my attention, it was the words of an artist, plunging deep into my unconscious mind. Don’t think you knew you were in this song, and this is your shadow on my wall, and

Cold winter bleeds on the girders of Babel
This stone boy watching the crawling land
Rings of flesh and the towers of iron
The steaming caves and the rocks and the sand.

But it wasn’t like with other music. It wasn’t like listening to the Flaming Lips or Beck or Weezer or whoever I was into back in the day. It always felt like there was a message there, scraps of messages, maybe, trapped beneath the surface of every verse in every song. Not messages to me, per se, but to the world.

One of my friends once told me they couldn’t “get into” David Bowie because his songs and his lyrics just seemed “so random.” And I get that. I really do. But to me, nothing in any of his work was either random or obtusely deliberate. It seemed, to me, that he always captured the essence of what he was going for…it was just never the thing you expected, or necessarily felt completely comfortable with. It’s easy to write an album of love songs, but it takes passion and guts to write and album about “the Ritual Art-Murder of Baby Grace Blue: A non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle,” that “centers on the characters of a dystopian world on the eve of the 21st century.”

If ever there was a modern vessel for the muses, David Bowie was it. Even knowing he was facing death, David Bowie turned his fear and his thoughts into art, and made his death a part of it in a tasteful, impressive way. I cannot think of a more badass–or more comforting–way to leave this world. In many ways, David Bowie’s way of approaching, planning, and experiencing death may be one of the most inspiring things he’s done.

Death and I have an agreement. I do not hate death. I do not fear death. I do not pretend to like it or that I do not grieve when the ones I care about pass away, but I do not blame death for my grief, because grief comes from loving, not from loss. So I am not devastated by David Bowie’s passing, even though he was hugely influential in my inner creative live and during my formative years. Rather, I am happy to celebrate his life, and his acceptance of his own death, by taking up the gifts he gave us–his music, his videos, his films–and letting them remind me of my work and re-fuel me as an artist.

Rest in Peace, David Bowie. The world is better for having known you.

2015 Year In Review!

2015! What a Year! Let’s take a look.

As 2015 dawned, I was working full-steam ahead on a little sequel that would be known TOWER-smallas The TowerWhile that took up most of my creative attention for the first few months, come spring I found out I was among the ten incredible writers selected to attend Nova Ren Suma’s Young Adult Novel Writing Workshop at Djerassi! Basically my head exploded and I rode that high until halfway through summer. <3

In the meantime, I was finishing up edits on The Tower AND working with the incredible Maria Marquis on the audiobook version of GHOST CITY. I also started work on the novel that I brought with me to the workshop, (working title:) SAVAGE CASTLE, which I discovered was Too Fast, Too Furious a pace for me to continue with that precious gem. I know myself, I know my stories have a longer gestation period than some, and I conceived the idea and churned out the first 75 pages way too quickly (as much as I am still in love with the words I’ve written and the idea of the book) without letting all of it take firm root in my head and my heart. (Soon, though. Soon.)

ghost city audiobook imageOver summer, I attended Nova Ren Suma’s Djerassi workshop where I got to meet not only the author of my favorite YA novel to date (who is also an amazingly lovely person! Er, Nova is, not her book. That would be weird, if her book was also a person. Although…*jots down story idea*), but also nine other incredible and talented lady authors whose books I can’t wait to read when they are published! I had the thrilling, if harrowing, experience of doing my first reading (public speaking, blech), and the invaluable experience of talking about craft and industry with other authors from around the world.

Then BAM–the Ghost City audiobook was released!

BAM–The Hierophant read-along! 15 poorly planned days of insanity wherein I revealed read-along-rounded2little known facts and insights about The Hierophant, and even somehow got over my fear of being on video and posted a few vlogs where I got to read from the book and ramble about what I liked about writing it.

BAM–The Tower – Book II in the Arcana Series was released! Finally, after two years of writing and revising and editing until my brains fell out, my very first sequel was set loose upon the world.

AND THEN…rest. Lots of rest. Because it turns out I can’t keep up with the pace I was setting for myself in writing/publishing, in addition to working a full-time job.

And then…some sadness, too, because I made the mistake of comparing myself and my process and my speed of writing to that of other writers, faster writers, more accomplished writers.

And then…some writer’s block, as well, because what I want my books and my writing to be does not fit into the molds that others have shown me, and when I ignore the wild, outrageous ideas that inspire me to write, I end up listless, lost, disconnected from the story (and ignoring wild, outrageous me is specifically why I haven’t been able to work on SAVAGE CASTLE, something that’s only obvious to me now as I type this).

In short, 2015 was a very busy year that started with a bang and ended with a much-needed nap. But I’m slowly getting back on track, I think, reminding myself to trust the story, to trust the little inspirations that come along the way, and stop thinking about what one “can” and “can’t” do when writing a novel, or a sequel, or within the nebulously defined category of “young adult.”

So what am I working on, now that the bleak fog of writer’s block has finally lifted? As promised, finishing up the first draft of Book III in the Arcana Series is my main focus for the time being (when I’m satisfied with it, I will announce the title! Oooh what tarot card could it be??!!). I don’t want to be a mean author and make people wait years for another sequel. But after that, SAVAGE CASTLE has my full attention. I have…*strong feelings* about that book and, without putting too much pressure on myself, I know I need to get that novel written, for myself, as much as for my career.

It’s true, those novels are two utterly different creatures, but they both possess a different part of my heart. And I dare to hope that, someday, they might touch the hearts of a few other people, too.

So that’s it for 2015! Happy New Year everyone! May 2016 be a year of incredible stories for all of us. :)