Yes. The doodle factory has begun operations.
I know you’re due a KES tonight but Blogmom tells me she’s already receiving wistful queries, in the wake of my turning SHADOWS in last Sunday night, about the likelihood of my getting back to doodling any time soon. Since you’ve all been waiting a year, this is perfectly reasonable.* So I thought I’d better deal with that first.
I’d been planning on waiting till the end of the week when I should be able to provide slightly more impressive desk-in-process photos. It’s not, repeat not, that I didn’t hit the ‘send’ button and immediately swing around and look despairingly at what used to be my office and is now a kind of storage facility for homeless parcels. It took me two days just to dig out. Believe me when I say that I have thought of the bell auction backlog EVERY DAY, because my office has been effectively impassable for the same year you’ve been waiting for your doodles, and I’m not tidy to begin with.**
I am so not doing this again.*** And for those of you who are puzzled at why I have been quite such a nugatory no-show about the whole affair†, the view from here goes like this: The New Arcadia Bell Restoration Fund rolled into existence some time in early 2011. I don’t remember exactly when the idea for the auction coalesced out of my overheated brain or when it seemed to me a good idea to add almost anything to the list that any of you out there expressed a willingness to spend money on . . . but I do remember that Blogmom was ready to set the thing up months before I pulled it together to send her what she needed.
And the reason I kept not pulling it together, aside from my general uselessness about almost anything practical, is . . . that PEGASUS II, due last summer, was showing an extreme unwillingness to be written. In fact a total unwillingness to be written. I wasted a lot of time refusing to believe this. It wasn’t just my next book. It was the frelling sequel†† to the book that ends on a cliffhanger so appalling that anything I can manage to do in KES looks like a mug of Maggie’s mum’s hot chocolate††† in comparison.‡ The prospect of merely not being able to afford to go on eating (nearly) paled in comparison with the horror of not finishing PEGASUS. Finishing. FINISHING.
PEGASUS, which, as long-time blog readers know, started life as a short story for ELEMENTALS: AIR, wanted to be a trilogy? Kill me. Kill me now.
So last August I set aside the semi-congealed, lumpy, overstuffed bungle that book two of the PEGASUS duology had become, and frantically began writing SHADOWS.‡‡ In the first place, I needed to keep eating. In the second place, I couldn’t face telling Merrilee or my editor what had happened till I could honestly say that I was working on something else. I whispered the dreaded ‘t’ word to Merrilee last September‡‡‡ and let her break it to my editor.
The part I’m not telling you much about, and that I’m not going to tell you much about, is that I thought I really was going to get SHADOWS put through fairly quickly, but along about March this year a big fist of health/menopause/mind/heart/spirit stuff punched me hard, and EVERYTHING including SHADOWS w e n t i n t o e x t r e m e s l o o o o o o w m o o o o o t i o n. . . .
But things may be improving generally. There is, for example, KES. And I’ve sent SHADOWS in.§
And the doodle factory went into production yesterday. Watch this space.§§
* * *
* And leaving you to hang a little longer over the particular cliff at the end of KES 42 . . . pleases me, because I am the hellgoddess and, as blondviolinist pointed out on the forum, I enjoy your pain. Mwa ha ha ha ha.
Also, in the final crunch to finish SHADOWS^ I haven’t written any KES in a while, and I need to get on with that, I’m only a few eps ahead at the moment. And just as much as you do I want to know what happens next, because KES, like everything else I’ve ever written, including cough-cough nonfiction^^, keeps surprising me.^^^
^ EXCEPT I’M NOT RATBAGGING FINISHED. I’ve spent the last two days cutting the freller—I cannot write short—and will be going on doing so for several more days yet. Which is actually amazingly stressful. Arrrgh.
^^ Including this blog. Which is mostly nonfiction, if of a perhaps slightly unusual kind.
^^^ Which as every writer who has ever written anything worth reading has said in one form or another, is a good thing and a necessary thing. A piece of writing you can order around, which is perfectly submissive to your fingers on the keyboard, is going to be dead and booooooring on the page.
** I now also have a yarn problem. At least this doesn’t require additional steel struts and granite pillars to shore up the weight-bearing floor.
*** Yes, there will be a permanent doodle shop on the blog AFTER, REPEAT AFTER I fulfil the auction orders. Did I say AFTER? AFTER. AAAAAAAAFTER.
† I am a lifelong absent-minded disorganised dilettante who always believes she can do more than she can.^ But the overcommitted messes I get myself into are usually not this extreme.
^ And I wonder why I’ve ended up with ME. No, I don’t wonder all that much.
†† I who never write sequels
††† Have I mentioned that Maggie’s mum—I mean mom—makes the best hot chocolate?
‡ Although I’ve had one or two really excellently cruel ideas about intercutting some of Flowerhair’s story.
‡‡ The first twenty single-spaced pages of which have been sitting in a folder behind my desk for several years. Almost nothing of said twenty pages remain, except the first-person high school girl narrator, and the short hairy guy from the Slav Commonwealth named Val whom she dislikes and distrusts on sight.
‡‡‡ I knew there was something up with you, she said. I just didn’t know what it was.
§ Even if I’m still frelling tinkering with it. Frelling.
§§ The straightforward stuff first. The one offs later.
One of the lesser wrong-going things last year was that I had a, er, stab at one of the auction knitting projects and promptly made a mess of that too, which was worse for morale than it should have been, first because my Secret Knitting Projects were all going the way of PEG II and second because I was beginning to pick up signs that in fact my money was not going to be welcome at the bell fund I thought I was raising it for. This was very bad indeed for morale. GAAAAH. LIFE. NO, IT’S NOT WHAT I HAD IN MIND. DON’T YOU HAVE SOMETHING ELSE?
Meanwhile, I am a whole year older in terms of knitting nous. And I will turn out the auction knitty things with aplomb. Just not this week.
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