At a time of new beginnings, I’m more grateful than ever for the past. Almost a year ago, I was at the magical Thurber House and putting the finishing touches on The Marriage Act. The Columbus Dispatch ran this piece and my fingers were simultaneously crossed for the book to find a home, so I could live up to the “upcoming” label. But I also do believe that we are more powerful than we know when it comes to manifesting our dreams. Whatever it is, it’s already real. (Yes I’ve moved from New York to California and I sound like it..)
I have loved and gleaned so much from this conference for the past few years. This year, with The Marriage Act forthcoming and a lot to think about re. what’s next, the changing publishing industry, etc, I’m excited to be a part of the conversation. If you’re heading to AWP in Boston, come check out one of my panels and let’s go to some of the fun social events too.
Don’t things always come full circle? In college, when I knew I wanted to become a writer, I was double-majoring in film and creative writing, planning to pursue a career in screenwriting (as always, if I could figure out how). When I moved to New York after two years in L.A., though, I landed a job in publishing, and started writing the beginnings of the novel that became Mexican High. I figured I would make my way back to screenwriting eventually, somehow, but that it would probably happen on its own when the time was right.
When Alex Garinger, fellow former intern at City magazine got in touch with me after the Profiler essay came out in the Times, with news that his production company wanted to option the story for a romantic comedy (he and I hadn’t been in touch for about six years!) it was one of those right-thing-at-the-right-time situations. Five All in the Fifth and their article on The Profiler.
For my last full workday at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, I set about researching a future book, tentatively titled 33. (A forthcoming subtitle will explain that.)
The book is, like The Marriage Act, about that age-old institution and the questions and ideas surrounding it. The first book I’m reading is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed, which has a similar but different project. Here is a quote from the book that renders the personal universal: “Destiny’s interventions can sometimes be read as invitations for us to address and even surmount our biggest fears.”
It’s been a good first week here at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, a laid-back community filled with natural beauty and small-town charm an hour from Omaha and Lincoln. Productivity comes easily here. It’s quiet and relatively distraction-free, and I’m in the company of some amazing women artists: my apartment-mate Ahn-Thuy, fellow traveler and Californian Erin, Jennifer, and writers Sheba, who left this weekend, and Amanda. We’ve done some fun things together when not holed up in our studios (or cafes, or the Library Lounge), including visiting a local bar (we were the only patrons until a man came in an hour later. “Look! It’s a person!” one of us said), getting to know each others’ work on open studio night, and taking a road trip to Lincoln for First Friday, when galleries are open late. After my week here, Lincoln felt like a big city (Trader Joe’s!). My favorite place in Lincoln was the Mad Men-esque Starlite Lounge.
I’m working away and yet always feel like I need to write more. Hoping a draft of my new novel will be done before I leave here, even if it means burning the midnight oil or skipping one of my favorite places, the local fitness center with its big indoor pool and relaxing hot tub, for a day or two. I’m waiting for some news this coming week and hope to be able to announce something soon.
I am going to sorely miss my fiancé, capoeira class, and the new life I’ve started in the lovely beach paradise of Santa Cruz, CA, but I’m very excited to have been awarded a three-week residency by the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.
I just perused the list of December artists and am looking forward to meeting them, plus diving into another bout of that precious “away” uninterrupted writing time. I’m going to return to the Profiler novel and have some other projects that are getting underway.