Sparkly

Sparkly

In the pages
of a book
a story unfolds.
In fiction,
a truer truth?

A truer truth—while speaking of fiction, a writer said that at a Bookworks author event. I can’t remember who (I’m sorry! We host a lot of you…), but that is why I write, to explore truer truths. And I thank you for lending me those words. I will pass them on.

Yesterday, my debut novel, No More Empty Spaces—untitled for years, then Inundation, then Inundations (which seemed right at first, but then not, but I never found what was just right, and I’m grateful that my publisher did)—was published. This story I have labored over, labored through, played in, played with, and loved, is now out in the world. Still mine (it always will be), but now, it’s yours too, to make whatever meaning of it you will.

So, today, I woke up an official published author, and still (Really? How can that be?) I am all the other things I was yesterday, the day before, and the day before that (you get the idea…). But I’ll spare you, and me, a listing of what all those things are.

As a geologist and a writer, the metaphor that comes to mind is this—I feel like a new mineral in the rock of “me” has been revealed (With a swing of Will’s (No More Empty Spaces’ protagonist) rock hammer on the page? Or my pen?). Today, that mineral seems very sparkly, indeed, and I think I’ll simply let myself enjoy it, without working to identify it precisely. Perhaps another day, while searching for a truer truth, I’ll take my hand lens to it and try. But today, I’m going to hold it in my hand, and let it sparkle in the sun.

There’s a Story Here (and There, and Everywhere)

There’s a Story Here (and There, and Everywhere)

Wherever I look, outward or inward, I can find a story. On hikes, at home, on the boat, in my dogs’ faces (even their pictures now), reminiscing with friends, or flipping through a photo album (or like we do now, scrolling through pictures on our phones)—there are stories everywhere. Some are true, or my take on the truth. Some are pure imagination, spurred by a sight, a sound, or a smell (lovely or vile, either way, it can bring up a story). Memories can make stories. I don’t know why, but the one that comes to mind at the moment is the first time (maybe the only time?) my mom dropped the f-bomb (that really is a good story…I’ll tell you one of these days). And for me, as a geologist, rocks tell stories too.

Soon, a story I have nurtured and crafted for a long time will make its way into the world between the covers of a book (and thank you, Julie Metz and She Writes Press, for that beautiful cover). I hope you’ll read and love that story—No More Empty Spaces.

So, tell me, where do you see story?

Jackrabbit

Jackrabbit

Seems I’ve seen a jackrabbit, or three, on every hike I’ve taken this winter. Black-tailed jackrabbits, or American desert hares, make the same habitat as mine their home (that is, the desert Southwest), or perhaps more accurately, I make my home in their habitat. They were here first, and I feel lucky to share this place with them, along with the many other wild creatures I get glimpses of.

Mostly I see their black tails flashing as they speed away from me, their muscular legs powering them across the desert terrain. But every now and then, I’ll spot one’s spectacular ears far enough in the distance that he’ll stay a while as long as I’m quiet (yes, I know they aren’t all males, but they are all “Jack” to me). Since I often carry binoculars for birdwatching, on the rare days that a jackrabbit pauses in my presence, I might see its ears turning toward me, its nose twitching, its whiskers quivering—all its senses alert to my intentions. Jackrabbits remind me to pay attention to what is happening around me.

Though it’s true that given their proximity, it’s no surprise they’ve crossed my path so often this winter, but it’s also true that I choose to make meaning of it. When I searched for the meaning that Indigenous people ascribe to jackrabbits, the first words that came up were hope,  adaptability, and determination. Those words resonate with me at this particular time in my life. So, now, when Jack crosses my path, as he and his kin did each day I hiked this week, in addition to attention, I’m reflecting on hope, adaptability, and determination.

What are you reflecting on?

artwork by Holly Moxley

Save the Date!

Save the Date!

Six weeks from today, April 9, 2024, will be a day I’ve dreamed about for years—the day I become a published author. No More Empty Spaces is a story I had to tell. It took years to do so, I’m proud of the result of that labor, and I hope many of you will open its (stunning!) cover, begin turning its pages, and lose yourself (or find yourself?) in the story. So, save the date—and some others as well, those when I’ll be at an independent bookstore in your neighborhood.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Or more appropriately, listen all about it.

I had the honor of discussing my debut novel, No More Empty Spaces with Suzanne M. Lang from Northern California Public Media on A Novel Idea. Our conversation delved into the creative process behind the book, exploring the inspiration, challenges, and memorable moments that shaped the story.

Listen to Suzanne Lang on A Novel IdeaNovelists who write inside of their calling on A Novel Idea (Aired: February 18, 2024)