WELL. Here’s my one blog post for the year! Haha. But I have a good reason! Last summer I was given a grant to write a novel, and so that’s what I’ve been doing. I started it last June and have spent just about every free minute I’ve had in the last twelve months working on it. And now I have a complete first draft! It has a beginning and a middle and an end and characters, and they do terrible things and good things and go places and talk to each other. It’s only the first step in a very long process, but it’s a complete thing even in all its messy first draft glory, and I feel proud of that.
I haven’t shared any details about it on this blog, but I wanted to write a little bit about it here because you never know, someone out there might stumble upon this and be interested in learning more. Strangers things have happened! So here’s a quick glimpse:
When it comes to cults*—if a person is in proximity to one or living within the confines of one—there are only a few choices she can make: She can stay. She can leave. She can join in, or she can run far away. My novel follows three women across time who find themselves facing these decisions, fighting against the chains that hold them, finding their places, their voices in a restrictive world. There’s Rosemary, who lives with her husband in a fundamentalist cult in a small town in Texas, Harriet, the first wife to her community’s great man in upstate New York, and Alice, a young woman fleeing the predetermined course of her life as a nice suburban girl, as a future wife and mother. Using the lives of these women and the cults that hold them back as a microcosm of our society, the novel examines the damaging effects of patriarchy and the danger of misplaced beliefs.
Among the many works that have inspired me, both thematically and structurally, are The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Girls by Emma Cline, and The Hours by Michael Cunningham.
One other writing related thing: I got into the Tin House Writer’s Workshop again, and this summer I will actually be going (last year I had to choose between Kentucky or Tin House)! I’ll be working with Kelly Link in short fiction. If you’re interested, read my favorite story of hers here. I’m already super sad to leave Margaux for a few days, but I’m looking forward to being around a group of writers again.
*My sister was recently telling someone about me, and the conversation went like this:
Her: She’s writing a book about cults.
Her: Yes, cults.
Him: A book about colts?
Her: Yes. Wait, what do you think I’m saying?
Him: Colts? Like baby horses?
HAHA it kills me every time I think about someone thinking I’ve been writing a book about baby horses.