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happy bookaversary

lots-of-circuses

The Night Circus was first published five years ago today.

It’s been a wonderful, strange, emotional roller coaster since then and I am still so very grateful to everyone who embraced and supported the book and visited the circus.

Thank you.

I have been a bad blogger this year. I have been very deep in the writing cave and I really did have a blog post half-drafted that was a summertime check-in of sorts around my birthday but now it is September and beyond the point of summertime check-ins.

This is not a proper check-in. This is just a quick September bookaversary internet hello before I crawl back in my cave. I might grab a pumpkin to autumn-up the cave decor while I’m here.

I am fairly certain there will be news of varying sorts to post here in the foreseeable future. I might even be allowed back on Twitter sometime soonish. Lots of things are afoot and busy and buzzing like bees.

 

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goodbye, 2015

Here we are at the end of the year again. I have had my least productive blogging year possibly ever. I am sorry, blog. I think this post will knock the last 2014 post off the front page, so that’s something. I have spent a lot of 2015 not on the internet, which has been good for me. I’ll be spending parts of 2016 offline as well, beginning with a very hermity writing January.

I started this year hibernating. I am ending it at home in New York, just back from a surprise trip to Hogwarts, about to hibernate again. In between I went to South Bend for circus shenanigans and Toronto again after too long away. I turned 37. We celebrated the first of hopefully many, many wedding anniversaries. I had a lot of cocktails with new friends and old friends. I learned how to make a proper carbonara. I added many, many bottles to my BPAL collection. I was a crossword puzzle clue.

I wrote a lot. I am well out of word soup phase and probably somewhere nearing the word cake phase, though not quite fully baked yet and there will be layers to carve and frost and a great many fussy bits to come. It’s almost a book. It’s thinking about it, really hard.

It was a more eventful year than it looks like through the lens of the internet. Much of what is going on in Erinland is still hidden behind curtains, waiting. Preparing. On one hand I feel badly about not being able to share and on the other I am trying to savor the quiet times because I know they are temporary. I am still trying to learn to balance living in my head which I need to do to write and living in the actual world with people and social media. The easiest way for me to manage is in extremes, and now is a mostly in my head time. Sooner or later the contents of my head will be properly captured in words and then put on paper so they can spill out into other people’s heads, which is magical but intimidating when it’s just me, just my head and just my thoughts, trying to keep them clear and finding the best ways to translate the spaces and people in my head into words. It’s difficult and then it’s easy and then it’s difficult again, like the optical illusions that shift depending on how you focus, though the image always stays the same.

In 2015 for the first time in a long time I started to feel like I’m getting to where I’m supposed to be. That there’s some forward momentum.

No stars in my hair this year. This year there are bees. It is time for new things. Time for changes.

new year's bees

No proper list of favorites this year, either. My favorite book I read out of an embarrassingly short list was Speak by Louisa Hall. I spent most of my non-writing story consuming time this year playing video games, mostly Dragon Age, mostly out of order (Inquisition, then Origins, then II, then the epilogue of Inquisition which made me cry and then laugh through my tears and I cannot even begin to explain how much I love that game). I liked a lot of tv, consumed mostly on Netflix: Black Mirror & Broadchurch & Sense 8 & competitive British baking. I really liked the BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I didn’t go to many movies but I did just see the new Star Wars and really liked it, and I am not really a Star Wars person.

I’m going to try to read more in 2016.

Lots of good music this year, which made it difficult to choose a song of the year. If I wanted to be really honest my most-played track is the main theme from Dragon Age: Inquisition but since that’s not precisely a song I decided to be a bit more traditional. This artist & this album were very much exactly the right music at exactly the right time.

SóleyÆvintýr

Happy New Year.

I have a feeling 2016 is going to be an adventure.

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post-nanowrimo time again

I keep forgetting it is December, probably because I finished my NaNoWriMo-ness early this year.

I do hope all of you who NaNo-ed enjoyed yourselves, regardless of how many words you wrote, and I hope you’re proud of yourselves because you should be.

All I really wanted to do myself was add 50k to this draft during November and I managed it in 21 days which was excellent timing because my last week of November was very busy. Look, word count graph!

nano 2015 graph

I do so love a word count graph. I should probably just make my own little motivational graphs to use all the time but I don’t think it’d be the same. Maybe I’ll just stick gold stars on things.

So the good news is that this draft is much longer than it was, the not so good is that it is still quite a ways from finding its end. It wants to be long. I am going to try to talk it into being perhaps just a little bit shorter once I find the end of it. It keeps looking at me and pouting and going “but I’m epic!” and then we have debates over the difference between epics and fairy tales and myths and regular old novels. It is consenting to becoming book-shaped, though. It is much more book-esque than it was even before November, and it is very much a winter creature so I have a feeling I will be sledding towards the end of this draft over the next few months and thus things will likely be quite quiet around here though I will do some annual end of the year posts.

I wish I could say more about the not-quite-book but at this point I can’t, really. This point is still alchemy and ingredients and I’m not quite certain how the finished product will turn out, exactly, not enough to describe it properly.

But here, have two sensory hints about it, early winter holiday presents:

Right now the new book smells like snow and beeswax candles and leather and honey.

And it sounds like this, a peek at the beginning of the ever-changing playlist:

playlist sneak peek

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nanowrimo time again

nanowrimo2015-design by eric nyffeler

I have realized it’s been quite some time since I wrote a proper National Novel Writing Month post. I pseudo-participated the last 2 years and might do the same this year just because I’m trying to finish a draft and I do so love a wordcount graph, but this post is mostly a refresher about NaNo and me and my opinionated opinions.

First, info & links:

Some refresher points regarding The Night Circus that usually need to be cleared up around this time of year:

  • The Night Circus did indeed begin as a NaNoWriMo project.
  • To be specific: The Night Circus began as an unplanned tangent in the middle of a different NaNo project. I got bored & sent my characters to a circus. The circus was much more interesting than anything else that was happening.
  • I then spent an additional two Novembers worth of NaNo time on what eventually turned into 100k+ of long, sprawling, very rough first draft.
  • When I say rough I mean rough. I mean those rocks you use to scrub the dead skin off of your feet rough. I mean it had no plot and Celia wasn’t in it.
  • That NaNoWriMo version of The Night Circus bears little resemblance to the finished book. It was heavily revised and rewritten both before and after it was sold.

My NaNoWriMo profile informs me that I’ve been a member for more than 12 years which is making me feel both nauseated and old. I skipped a few years and I can’t tell you which ones because the site doesn’t believe in keeping my entire history anymore, but of those 12 Novembers I’ve probably participated during more of them than not.

I didn’t really write much before NaNoWriMo. I thought about writing, which is different than actually writing. (This is one of the great lessons of writing: you have to get the words out of your head and onto paper or screen.) I would write a page and hate it and stop, which is not a good way to get better at anything. I’d write little scraps of things and bury them under self-doubt and insecurity.

NaNoWriMo helped me get better. It took awhile, my first several NaNovembers worth of writing are terrible things that will never see the light of day but the later ones have some good bits here and there that could potentially be excavated. You learn a lot writing page after page after page and not having the time to go back and worry over how awful that one particular page was because there are so many more to write. It’s also probably one of the reasons I’m a binge writer and not a write-every-day writer, but that works for me.

NaNoWriMo is not for everyone. That’s okay. I still maintain that the word “draft” should be involved somewhere. It can be a very helpful first step but there are plenty of other steps. That “the world needs your novel” on the top of the official site that I’m pretty sure wasn’t always there raises my skeptical eyebrow. I’m not sure the world needs your novel but I think maybe you need to write it, if you want to. When I started NaNo-ing back in the dark ages it seemed (to me) much more of a personal challenge and not a means to a publishing-based end. Really I think it’s a writing tool. A crazy, autumnal whirlwind of a writing tool that you can use however works best for your own writing or not use at all. There is no one way to write, after all.

To those about to NaNo, I salute you. I wish you electrifying ideas and caffeinated beverages and I hope you discover things before November 30th that you didn’t expect to find on November 1st.

 

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autumnal

perfect pumpkin

We went apple picking on Friday and did not intend to look for pumpkins but then there was the Most Perfect Pumpkin and it had to come home with us. Not even going to carve it, it is too perfect in its perfect pumpkinyness.

I am so glad it is finally fall. September was a lying month filled with 90-degree days but October seems to have its act together. I have socks on. This is better.

(The most properly autumnal thing I got up to in September was running around in corn in the dark for the lovely Kim Liggett‘s Blood & Salt launch, which was moonlit and magical and possibly evil.)

I keep forgetting to blog because I’m writing and when I’m not writing more typing seems like silliness when I should be resting my fingers, or doing little finger exercises. I’ve been knitting, trying to finish the scarf I started in July (um… July 2014, that is), and I suppose knitting is finger exercise.

I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and loved it. I like books on creativity and this one is a fairly quick read but packed with very big ideas. It feels like it took up more space in my brain than it did on the page which is a neat trick.

(My brain sometimes feels like it is too big, with too many things and too many people and too much imaginary architecture in it. Can you get agoraphobic in your own brain? I’m going to close this parenthetical before I think about that too hard.)

Adam took some lovely photos of me during Friday’s apple picking perfect pumpkin excursion. I do not know what’s going on with my hair.

oct 2015 portrait

Okay, I do know what’s going on with my hair: I cut it wrong last time I did it (I always cut my own hair) so I’ve been putting it up in shame ponytails when there is not quite enough of it to pony.

I am trying to think of what’s new or what’s news and there is no news and not much is new besides pumpkins and pounds upon pounds of apples (I am going to bake an apple crisp of some sort this week). Still writing. Still throwing things out and rewriting. Still trying to figure out where this book is going though it is finally consenting to being almost book-shaped. Almost.

But it is a winter book, so it is sorting itself out more now that there is a chill in the air, pulling up a blanket and sitting next to me on the couch and hopefully once I ply it with enough warm beverages it will tell me the rest of its secrets.

(It told me one big secret yesterday and I said “Really? I’m not sure I can write that.” And it said “Well you’d better, lady, that’s how it goes.” Sigh. Wish me luck.)

Still on Twitter hiatus, likely for at least the rest of the year. Still not doing any public appearances until this draft is done. Still obsessed with Dragon Age, still trying to figure everything out, still over-using the word still.

thhpptt

 

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hiatus time again

flower

My brain does not like summer in general and this one in particular. It is too hot and too bright. I’m tired at odd times of day and I forget to buy almond milk for my coffee.

I was already planning on curling up into my sweaters and my head in the fall but I think I shall start the curling early, even if the sweaters have to wait. I’ve been mostly neglecting the internet anyway but for some reason making it official and giving myself rules works better for my brain. And it seems more polite to announce than to simply vanish.

Starting August 1st I will not be on Twitter (I will tweet if there is particularly tweet-worthy news or information to be shared but I will not be reading my @ replies.)

I will blog if there is blog-worthy anything, though there usually isn’t because right now involves a lot of things that are still incubating and not sharable and not a lot of news. My day-to-day news of late is usually the not-blog-worthy type of things like “got new red lipstick” or “made blueberry pancakes” and “still in Dragon Age withdrawal.”

I will be on Instagram & Tumblr occasionally. Lipstick & pancake related news might turn up over there.

I don’t know how long this particular hiatus is going to last. I am planning on crawling into my head and not coming out again properly until I find the end of this book, which I know at this point seems like it has been a very very long time coming. I threw out everything I had in January and started over, so really it is going quite quickly and I have so much more of it figured out even if I haven’t convinced the words to cling to the pages in the right order just yet. It is much less like word soup now than it used to be but it is still a word soufflé and I need to be careful and quiet with it so it doesn’t collapse.

So I’m going to step away from the internet (mostly) and figure out how to get from soufflé to whatever the next stage of this analogy is (probably cake) and someday there will be a proper book and hopefully someday is a lot less far off than it used to be.

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anniversary

Yesterday was our first wedding anniversary.

anniversary banner

Earlier this year we had to print out photos for our immigration interview so now they’re scattered about the apartment, popping up like mushrooms.

mr & mrs

I had a feeling we were both going to go the predictable book route for the paper anniversary gifts but Adam surprised me with the Dragon Age: Inquisition tarot deck which was super limited & now only pops up on ebay occasionally. Because tarot & Dragon Age are two of my favorite things & he knows me really, really well.

da tarot

(I got him a gift card for The Strand so he can go & pick out his own paper books.)

And this was a not-paper combination gift that we’ve been talking about getting for ages.

record player

I admit I had thought all that stuff about the sound being warmer and such was likely exaggeration but I was wrong, it does sounds warmer and it is amazing it is like hot tea for your ears and I am loving it to little bits.

We spent the day wandering and went to see the Alice in Wonderland exhibit at the Morgan Library which was splendid and had lots of original Tenniel sketches plus the original handwritten manuscript.

And last night we went to o ya for dinner, we’d been to their Boston location a few times and the New York outpost just opened. Everything was sublime, in that “I’m going to giggle maniacally after every perfect bite because it’s just that perfect and happy-making” way. They even gave us little candlelit magic mochi matcha donuts for anniversaryness.

o ya menu

I can’t believe it’s been a year already, probably because it’s been a busy year but it’s been lovely and wonderful in so many ways and I am very much looking forward to a great many more anniversaries.

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miscellaneous post of miscellany – june 2015 edition

I keep forgetting to blog. I used to blog so often that I had to grasp at things to fill up spaces between flax-golden tales and now there are so many unblogged about bits and pieces piling up that I don’t know where to start so I don’t and then nothing gets blogged at all and the pile gets bigger. Attempting to toss some things on today, so this will be very much all over the place.

(Part of it is also that I don’t have Official Author Things to blog about. There’s either no new news or no sharable news, etc. I’m not doing any events. Whenever there is bloggable book news it will be blogged, I assure you. In the meantime, thank you for reading all of this nonsense.)

A few weeks ago I was a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle. 135 Across.

nyt crossword

Which was odd and cool and not something I’d ever thought possible. We went out and got a copy to keep that will probably remain blank because I am not good at crosswords. (Maybe I should just fill in the ERIN.)

I asked Twitter for potential things to blog about* and one of the suggestions was about my Twitter hiatus and how well/not well it went. I was on Twitter hiatus from November-April (I’m still not checking it as much as I used to) and I think it was really good for me. I have a few different social media things I try to keep up with but Twitter is the most active & time consuming. My Instagram & Tumblr are a little more on the pretty pictures & retumbling passive side, which is better for me when I’m working. Having all the Twitter connections and voices is tremendously awesome but not so much when I’m trying to pay more attention to the voices in my head. That came out wrong. But still, it’s very outward when I need to be inward at the moment so the hiatus was valuable and I will probably do it again toward the end of the year.

I am mostly writing right now, or working rather because I am not a write-every-day writer, I am a live-in-the-book-regardless-of-wordcount every day writer. So I alternate days with a lot of words and days working out character things or plot things or imaginary architecture, sometimes with pens in notebooks and sometimes just in my head, because if I have those things worked out the word days end up filled with more useable words.

My writing music at the moment is atmospheric & electronic & classical. Smitten with the Max Richter recomposition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Currently listening to Forest Swords. Brand new Florence + the Machine and Of Monsters and Men albums are also on heavy rotation.

I have not been reading much, which always happens when I’m writing more. I tend to like absorbing story in non-text formats when I’m working on my own writing so I end up watching more tv and playing more games. Earlier this month I binge-watched the first three seasons of American Horror Story which I had never seen and now I wish I’d started sooner. Still haven’t seen Freakshow and looking forward to Hotel because I have a thing for hotels.

I don’t even want to talk about Game of Thrones. I was glad I had a lot of wine.

I got a new bunny friend because I couldn’t leave the store without him.

bunny friend

The apartment has an awful lot of bunnies now.

I’ve been trying to keep up with the E3 press conferences as much as I can but I wasn’t really excited about anything until last night’s Sony conference and then it was ALL EXCITEMENT with some extra shooty things I don’t care about. (Particularly interested in The Last Guardian & Horizon and really intrigued by dreams.) In related news I now I have surround-sound headphones that I got mostly for game-related purposes and I love them.

I am realizing I might not be blogging that much lately because I’m boring. I’m also hot, which doesn’t help anything. Despite being born in the summer I am not a summer creature, humidity makes me sleepy and I burn easily and our air conditioner is broken.

Someone is coming to fix the air conditioner.

Someday there will be book news and sharable things and excitement, I’m sure. I’m in hermit mode which does not lend itself well to sharing.  I am writing a lot and switching things around and finding structure and it is finally actually getting somewhere this time. There are people in my head I would like for you to meet but I have to follow them around awhile longer first.

The air conditioner repairperson came while I was writing this and it’s not a problem with the unit, it’s something electrical so I am apparently going to remain hot for awhile.

This post was even more all over the place than I’d anticipated.

I am an introvert who occasionally pretends to be an extrovert and then other times I forget how, even on the internet.

Doing my best but really need my attention focused elsewhere lately, hope you all understand.

 

*Twitter suggestions scattered randomly throughout post, I think I got most of them.

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night circus in south bend

south bend pin

We spent the first weekend in May in South Bend, Indiana for their One Book, One Michiana celebration of The Night Circus. The weather was perfection, the city is absolutely lovely, and I was incredibly impressed by how much enthusiasm and effort was put into every detail. They have the loveliest librarians and the most extraordinary library, I wanted to live in it.

From the pins and the programs (some of which had moving parts!) everything was so detailed and thoughtful.

south bend program

I have been in my writing cave for so long I was a bit concerned that I might not remember how to speak in front of people but everyone was so delightful and welcoming. All of the events were wonderful, there was delicious food and chocolate and it was a flattering if slightly surreal reminder that there are still people reading and enjoying and celebrating, even when I’m getting used to being at home staring at blank pages and trying to make them not so blank.

I wish I could explain properly how much fun it was. I didn’t take enough photos but there are lots over here. There were cocktails and fancy dresses and I had an excellent tarot reading (someone please tell Barbara the Gray Witch I did get a new pillow, she was right about my neck). The children’s section of the library had a tunnel made of vintage luggage, I was serious about wanting to live there.

My gratitude and appreciation to everyone in South Bend who put so much time & energy into creating a truly wonderful experience.

south bend library sign

Home now, back in springtime NYC and blank pages waiting to be filled. No more appearances for awhile, so this was a very good high note to end on.

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springtime

blooming

My apologies for the lack of blog updates. I haven’t had much to update about, I have been hibernating and writing and re-writing. Apparently writing a book entirely wrong the first time is just a thing I do. I think it is back on track now.

Months ago I said aloud (Twitter counts as aloud) that I wanted to have a draft finished by spring and here we are in spring and well… not so much.

But I have made a lot of progress. More than I have in a long time. Maybe I should aim for progress and not use the f-word. Art is never finished and all that. Still working. Still writing and probably re-writing. Not quite book-shaped but it’s getting there. It’s still surprising me, which is fun.

New York is turning blossomy and proper springtime-feeling when it’s not raining. I hope it stays this way for a while and doesn’t rush headlong into summer.

On May 1st & 2nd I will be in South Bend, Indiana for One Book, One Michiana with the St. Joseph County Public Library. There will be a reading/q&a/signing, a tiny story workshop & a circusy soirée (oh, how I love the word soirée). Detailed schedule can be found over here.

Given what’s been going on in Indiana I thought about cancelling but considering how much planning and preparation people have put into this event that didn’t seem right. I will be making donations to freedomindiana.org and the Human Rights Campaign with my speaking fee.

This is, at the moment, my only scheduled appearance for 2015. I should really figure out what I’m going to wear since I’ve been living in my yoga pants lately.

I’m going to attempt to blog more frequently over the spring/summer. I am still Instagraming & Tumlbring & I may be on Twitter periodically but mostly I will be writing (and re-writing) so the majority of my words need to be focused there. If there is news I can share, as always, I will share it but most of the time it seems things are either not shareable or not news. Maybe I’ll post ice cream recipes and things like that.

tulips

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