Sunday, February 1, 2015

Deeply Inhaling and Exhaling--Reading,Writing, and Cross Country Skiing.

I'm taking a long inhale after submitting the first rewrite of my middle grade novel, Wolfboy, to my editor, Tracey Keevan at Disney*Hyperion. She had so much good input! I work single-mindedly, can't seem to focus on more than one project at once. I live and breathe it 24/7. With this story, about how a boy adopts a wolf pup, which becomes the first dog, I got so deeply into Kai and Uff's story that I began to believe it was true. It is true--in my head. Maybe Tracey will push me deeper with the challenges of creating language usage that sounds ancient without being hokey. Maybe I will find more things to tweak. But it's in a good place right now.

Not being immersed in a writing project makes me feel uneasy. I can work on a rewrite. That always feels safe and satisfying. I'm dying to start something new, but it's time to inhale--and reading is the inhale while writing is the exhale of a writer's life. I want to do a story about a bear. But even growing up in the northeast with a lifelong interest in all things woodsy, I really know very little about bears. Time to read, and think, and live, and dream--believing that the story will come. It will start speaking to me. And then I will start writing it down . .

Meanwhile the snow is fantastic and we cross-country ski every day. The surface is crisscrossed with tracks of deer, coyote, fox, mice . . . Piliated woodpeckers rummage deep into the trees killed by tent caterpillars a few years ago. The porcupine had made himself a deep rut in his habitual crossing place. I keep my eyes open for signs of nesting owls.

We come inside ruddy-cheeked and drenched in sweat, having greeted Toad Hill's resident red-tails, ravens, crows, and sometimes the young eagle. The bird feeder is buzzing as the tide of black hulled sunflower seeds constantly ebbs. It's full daylight when I feed the horses at 5:00 PM now! The other morning I heard the first chickadee's daylight triggered song. I have a stack of books to read in preparation for the conference next weekend, but mostly I'm looking forward to opening Benjamin Kilham's In the Company of Bears, What black Bears Have Taught Me about Intelligence and Intuition. 

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