The Dreaded Sophomore Slump

Kevin Smith had it. (Because Mallrats.)

Friday Night Lights had it. (Landry and Tyra kill someone in season 2. Um…what?)

Gregory Maguire had it too. (Say what you will, but I think we can all agree that Son of a Witch is no Wicked.)

It’s the dreaded Sophomore Slump and it’s terrorized everyone who ever did anything well the first time and then had to do it again, only different and also better, the second time.

This is on my mind today because it turns out my second book, The Delving, is currently available at Amazon.com (and etc.) as an ebook.

Personally, although I loved The Uncovering with all the blind adoration a mother lavishes on her first child (before any subsequent siblings come along and turn her head) , I honestly think The Delving is a better book. It’s darker and sexier and adventurier and just generally a lot more fun. There’s a quest, a water witch, revenge plots, trolls, dungeons, torture, and a woman who brings a whole new meaning to the word flighty. Please read it and let me know what you think.

  

Happy National Poems That Have Birds in Them Day

There is no such thing as National Poems That Have Birds in Them Day. Still, that sad fact notwithstanding, I want to share two poems with you today, both of which have birds in them. Black birds.

1. The Writer
by Richard Wilbur

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

2. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stephens

I
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
II
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
III
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
IV
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.
V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
VI
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
VII
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
VIII
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
IX
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
X
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
XI
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.
XII
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

  

No Straight Lines

My life does not move in straight lines. There’s never a short shot between Point A and Point B. Ever. It looks more like this:

 photo

No matter what I do or how I prepare before I leave Point A, I still have to get through the curve ball, the zigzag, the yarn tangle, and the loops of doom before I reach Point B. At 39, you’d think I’d be used to it by now. Nope. I fight it. I cry and complain every time there’s an unexpected plot twist.

But lately I’ve been thinking it’s time for a change. Maybe it’s time for me to learn to relax; to learn to enjoy the convoluted journey. Maybe life, a full, good, happy life, is all tangled up in the snarls and loops and knots. Maybe getting there really is half the fun.

With that in mind, I want to share something with you. This is the new and finally final cover of my first book, The Uncovering. I love it. Really.

TheUncovering

It has been a twisty, tangled journey. But here we are. The books are shipping out. In a few weeks, I’ll be holding one of them in my hand. The book. My book. My real, actual, paper and ink book. *Sigh* 

It hasn’t been a short, straight shot between getting the offer from MP, my publisher, to actually seeing my book on the shelves, but it’s been an interesting one. I’ve learned a lot and I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn next. To the messiness of it. To the rumpled parts. To the double-backs and parts I never saw coming. And now, when there’s more craziness, I’m going to stop, yell “Plot Twist!” and then just move along.

I hope I’ll see you on the road.

  

The Frustrated Cat

cat

Point A: How I look right now.

Life can be so frustrating sometimes. Things pile up. Laundry. Bills. Responsibilities. There’s all this stuff I have to do, which leaves very little time for the things I want to do. And it makes me crabby. See that cat? The face he is making in that picture is pretty much the exact same face I’ve been making for the last ten days.

I want to stop making the frustrated cat face and start making a happy, smiling cat face instead. Like this one.

e520e8b4d1ae6999e8761967c6d95fb3

Point B: How I want to look

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone with tips on how to get from point A to point B should contact me immediately. Before I do something drastic…like eat a bag of Oreos.

This link http://ashow.zefrank.com/episodes/123 will take you to Diary of a Sad Cat from Zefrank (who I love more than my own children, mother, and boyfriend combined). I recommend you watch it if you like hysterical things and/or cats.

  

Romance is Dead

Yesterday I sent my boyfriend a lovely poem that really expresses my feelings about him in a very clear, honest way. It’s sort of personal, but I’d like to share it with you now. It goes like this:

roses are red,
foxes are clever,
i like your butt,
let me touch it forever.

Did he love it? No.

Did he swoon? No.

Did he feel thankful to have the affection of a woman who takes the time to admire his rump using a construct that has its origins in the epic poem The Faerie Queene written by Sir Edmund Spenser in 1590? Unbelievably, the answer is no. No he did not.

Instead, he said, and I quote, “Um, I’m suddenly thinking sales of the book may be a bit disappointing….” Then he suggested that next time I might try saying it with flowers or (oddly enough) apples.

That’s it. No more romantic gestures for him.