ghosts in the park

There are ghosts in the park but no one else seems to be able to see them.

When I told my mom she said “of course there are, dear” but she wasn’t looking right at the ghost lady even though I pointed.

I tested her, too. I said “isn’t her hat nice and floppy for the sunshine?” and my mom said “yes it is, she must be a sensible ghost to have a hat like that” and then I knew she couldn’t see the ghost lady because the ghost lady wasn’t wearing a hat.

The hatless ghost lady smiled at me but she didn’t say anything.

The next day there were two ghost ladies sitting on the bench but all they did was talk about the weather and politics and shoes. Neither of them had hats.

Now there’s always at least two or three park ghosts. The most I’ve seen at once is five and that day I had to yell at a bunch of kids who tried to sit on the ghost bench and my mom got mad and told the kids and a mom and two dads that I have an overactive imagination.

But the ghosts all said thank you.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

This post has been a long time coming and I suppose that’s fitting, since it’s mostly about not having time to write. Apparently that includes proper blog posts. Though this is not a proper blog post, this is a long rambling thing about what my life has been like lately.

I am not saying this is how it goes for every author, the more authors I meet the more I realize that it’s a strange sort of career where everyone’s experience is unique despite some overlapping elements. There’s a lot more to being a writer than writing, between book promotion and public speaking and signing things.

The Night Circus came out last September. I spent the weeks leading up to it doing interviews and Q&As and trying not to freak out about the whole thing. I’d also moved over the summer so I was still in cardboard box land.

From September until mid November I was on book tour, or doing book-related things abroad. This involved near-constant travel, I was never in any one location for more than a couple of days at most. I was on more airplanes in the first month than I’d been on in my entire life beforehand.

Here’s the thing about book tours: Yes they are fabulous and exciting and it’s wonderful to meet people in so many different cities but they are also physically and emotionally exhausting. I’m not sure it can be properly explained, it’s likely one of those situations that is near impossible to understand unless you’re the person in it. I feel like I have a better understanding of it now, having gone through it, and a better idea of how I react and what I need to do to keep myself sane, but it was a learn by doing sort of thing.

(And by “learn by doing” I mean “learn by having a near breakdown in the middle of an airport.”)

I am endlessly thankful that having a theatre background makes the whole public speaking thing easier to handle, but being a writer still involves more talking than I’d expected. And it’s hard to find a balance when I’m relating the same stories and answering similar questions, I start to feel repetitive and awkward and sometimes my social anxiety kicks in despite the actor training.

The strangest thing, for me, at least, and this might warrant a separate thoughtful post of its own, is the sudden transition between being the center of attention in a room filled with people to being alone in an unfamiliar hotel room.

(Side note: in two hotel rooms on my tour the concierge left a bottle of wine and two glasses. I still cannot decide if it would be more or less depressing to have a single glass. Which one is a harsher reminder that you’re alone?)

December should not count as a month off because it has holidays in it, and for most of January I was too tired to function.

At the end of January I was on a mini-tour, in a different city every day for a week, and then I had a few days off and then I was in Toronto in early February, which was actually lovely because I heart Canada.

But that means it was mid-February before I was really able to start properly recovering from tour mode.

And it would have been fabulous if that meant I could sit down and work on my next book that has been languishing for months but I also have long-neglected email to deal with and extra content type things to work on for various upcoming paperback editions. More Q&As, this time from more countries, and now people send me books they want me to read and say nice things about and did I mention that there are a few cardboard boxes kicking around from last summer and I’m likely going to be moving again this fall? I’m also just tired, still, and some days grocery shopping or laundry or putting on shoes takes more energy than it should.

Also, my desk chair is broken.

All these things take time. Sure, a lot of the individual things aren’t that complicated or time-consuming but once you start adding them up they eat a lot of time. And I need to allot time to blogging and tweeting and try to have a life in there somewhere, too.

It gets hard to separate work time from non-work time with this sort of job. I have an office (I ordered a new desk chair) but it’s not like I’m in there from 9 to 5 because I don’t have typical days so I end up feeling guilty at 10pm when I’m sitting around eating gelato instead of answering emails even when I’ve spent all day working. This is a mental thing I’m aware of but I still struggle with it, a lot. I’m trying to be better about taking weekends off.

And then there’s that added complication of having people actually waiting for this book. No one was waiting for the circus. I got to write the circus in a bubble, and now the bubble is gone, it will be the only bubble book, ever. I am thrilled that I already had several other stories in varying degrees of not-yet-novel-shaped because if I was staring at a blank page right now I know it would be worse.

For comparison: the circus took five years to write (and rewrite), and I wasn’t dealing with book tours and outside pressure while I was working on it. I am hoping that I will have a draft of my next novel done at some point this year, but right now I have a few months and then a fairly busy summer (my sister is getting married in August, yay!) and then I’ll be touring again in the fall and then it will be Mayan calendar end of the world time and then 2013 because when you reach the end of a calendar you get a new one.

I’m also not going to write faster just for the sake of having the next book out sooner. I want to write the best book I can despite the complications of time and the general busyness my life has taken on. If I can do that this year, that’ll be fabulous. It’ll also mean the earliest that book could possibly be available would be very late next year or more likely sometime in 2014, because once I’m done with it it’s still a long way from being a finished shiny book.

So yeah, that’s the rough idea of why I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like.  I am learning to make time for it, though, all of this is a learning process. I have a whole new life and I’m trying to get the hang of it but I’m still a toddler so I have tendencies to fall down and cry and need a cookie and a hug.

And if blog posts are few and far between and I’m slow on email replies for the next while, I’m sorry. I’m trying to write another book, because really, that part is my actual job.

If you read this whole thing I’m impressed and I feel you deserve a picture of a kitten. (If you skimmed just to get to the kitten, that’s okay, too.)


springtime wisdom imparted by flirtatious rabbits

On sunny days in the spring I like to sit out in the field, usually with a book and a green tea lemonade. Sometimes the rabbits come very close like they want to see what I’m reading but this was the first time one of them actually struck up a conversation.

There were some almost-awkward pauses and a few clumsy remarks about the weather and he seemed like he might bolt back across the field at any moment, but eventually he settled down for a good long chat.

He mentioned that he doesn’t like carrots, which I found surprising but he called it a cartoon-propagated rabbit stereotype.

He nibbled clover while I sipped my green tea lemonade.

We talked about life and about change. About heartbreaks and choices and difficulties, spring-blooming, equinox rebirth and new possibilities.

He told me that he prefers to hop higher when the ground gets difficult to walk on. His tone suggested this was something of a metaphor.

In that mid-air moment, he said, it feels like flying.

About flax-golden tales
. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

birthday bucket.

Today Bucket is nine years old.

Last year on Bucket’s birthday it was snowing.

Today it is almost summer-warm outside. I hope she doesn’t find that confusing.

She spent most of her birthday asleep on the bed, and was not really into birthday photos.



She was more interested in birthday tummy rubs, which she got, of course.


In non-kitten birthday news, there is not much news. I am still behind on emails and such. I am working on all sorts of things including that blog post about writing and busyness and non-writing things involved in this whole writer gig. I am also trying to be nice to myself and drink tea and maybe actually have time to write, which would be nifty.

Mostly right now I am all about bright blossoming things with open windows and new sandals. Looking curiously at the sunshine and wondering what wonders springtime will bring.

And my desk chair just broke. I can blame Mercury retrograde for that, right?

monitoring system

We were on the waiting list for almost six months before we got our new apartment. The realtor kept talking about the list as a positive, like the building is superior because it has a list.

It could be that it’s small or that people ask to live here for the sake of being on a waiting list, as though a building you can waltz right into simply isn’t as cool.

The building is actually quite cool, though, with lots of brick and odd corners. The kind of building you’d be wary of playing hide-and-seek in because you might never be found.

Technically I don’t think I was supposed to be in the fenced-off part near the back gardens where I found the tangle of pipes and meters that would have been practically invisible against the brick in the shadows but I happened to be there when the sun was falling just right to see them clearly.

At first I thought it was some sort of plumbing or heating thing, the meters were labeled so I found the one for our apartment and the display said Moderate Contentment – Acclimating with the little arrow pointing towards the top.

I checked a few of the others and they said things like Mild Annoyance – Passing and High Contentment – Maintaining.

I asked the building manager about them and he called it a “Monitoring System.”

He just smiled at me when I asked if he ever needs to make adjustments.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

almost springtime

I was in NYC last week for a few busy days and nights of half business/half vacation, with some overlapping of both in between. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference, especially when there is delicious food involved.

Here is delightfully out-of-focus photographic evidence, with me all grey & pink and springy, even though it was still lingering-winter chilly at the beginning of the week:


I forget how much I like New York until I’m there again surrounded by so many lovely people and so much fabulous food. (Most of my schedule revolved around lunches and dinners, I ate extremely well and now my refrigerator is making me sad.)

The week turned absolutely gorgeous weather-wise, too, and I finally got to walk the High Line which was beautiful and just starting to blossom with spots of color.

I also ran around Sleep No More for the ninth time and did indeed see things I hadn’t seen before. I’d go again, too, since it’s always so different, even though now certain rooms and hallways and shadowed corners seem familiar. I had one of my first genuine moments that made me jump this time, too, very nearly alone on the fifth floor. (Don’t think I’d stumbled across the padded room up there before, either.)

But seriously, mostly I ate a lot (I had dinner twice on Thursday!) and I don’t want to torment you with food, especially if you’re hungry, dear reader, though I did take a picture of the caramel popcorn at The Breslin, because how could I not?

Back in Boston now, where after a bit of a cold welcome it is now bright, open-window almost springtime here as well.

Not going anywhere for the next while but I’m going to have to lock myself away for some serious working time. Still composing a blog post (it might end up being an experiment in vlogging) about how it is that writing time seems to be a fickle, fleeting thing nowadays and there will be a few addendums to the sorta-FAQ soon(ish).

Also I bought an orchid because it seemed a springy thing to do. Hopefully I can keep this one alive, I have a lousy history with orchids.

ever-changing endearments

I shall write you a thousand love letters in a multitude of colors.

Scrawl them in chalk on the pavement outside your house.

(Though some will be neatly written and artistically composed, easier to decipher than the almost-illegible passionate scrawls.)

They will be washed away by rain or snow or street sweepers.

Scuffed into dust by the soles of passing shoes.

There is no way to protect them from such things.

They may even vanish before you have a chance to read them.

But when the ground is clear and dry again I will write more messages, with new words and different color combinations.

That way my love will never fade.

It will be renewed and changed and it will grow with each iteration.

About flax-golden tales
. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

gallery show

I am in NYC this week, so in lieu of proper posting while I am running around, I thought I’d prepare a mini virtual gallery show, as there isn’t much of my artwork around online anymore. This is a selection of pieces from the last few years, I hope you enjoy it.

(I recommend looking at this post while sipping wine and nodding sagely and shush-ing any nearby loud-talkers for a proper virtual gallery experience.)


music for the apocalypse part II: nocturnes #2

mixed media, 2011

wonderland at night: sweet dreams for the mentally unbalanced

acrylic & charcoal, 2006

postcards from the gods: persephone

embellished photograph on board, 2008


acrylic, 2009

lost things: dreams & buttons

mixed media, 2008

rainy day lovebirds

acrylic, ink & colored pencil, 2006


of impractical footwear and inevitabilities 

He started walking on a Tuesday.

It wasn’t snowing when he left but the flakes began to fall within hours of his departure, as he knew they would.

His shiny leather shoes were not well-suited for the weather, but that did not deter him.

He kept a steady pace as his shoes slowly lost their shine, and his toes grew colder.

He never looked back. Not once did he turn to see the line of footprints that marked his progress, though they never lasted long.

Trails left in snow are difficult to follow.

But that didn’t matter.

He knew it would catch up with him eventually.

It always did.

About flax-golden tales
. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.