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When Something Really Cool Is Still Not Really Real

Last May I started writing a novel. That was a surprise. My dream of being a writer was to be a poet. Then it was to be a fairly obscure blogger with a small but dedicated following. Then it was to be a memoirist. Then this novel slammed into me out of nowhere when I rounded a corner onto a quiet street in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

No one really prepared me for being a novelist. In school, I took poetry workshops. I tried fiction, short stories mostly, once in undergrad and once in grad school. Though I thought I learned a lot, both instructors where not, how shall we say, encouraging about my future as a fiction writer.

I do still write poems. They are mostly for me and I show them to Keifel when I think they aren’t particularly terrible. There isn’t a precise moment when I stopped wanting to be a poet. There was something about me needing to focus on being a parent and putting food on my damn family. I will not say those were necessarily rational thoughts. Now the kiddos are grown and can put food on themselves for the most part, the idea that I can’t be more than one thing at a time has wilted. (Thank all the gods for that.)

I finished the first draft of the novel with a working title of Still Water. Then I worried over at least three heavy rewrites and am now into the editing stage, or about to be. One more pass for egregious errors. (That thing I said about not being able to spell. It’s true and I think way faster than I type.)

That book has a new title, Who by Water, from the second line of Leonard Cohen’s song “Who by Fire.” It’s haunting and has followed morbid, Scorpio me around for years, especially this cover. When I realized just how many other books in the world had some version of still water or still waters in the title, I had to come up with something else. I landed on the current title for two reasons. In my heart of hearts, I knew water was at the core of this book. Jo, the main character who informed me I needed to write this book while I was standing on that quiet street, listens to Leonard Cohen when things are going badly for her.

The book is slated for an April 2017 release with indie imprint, Griffyn Ink.

So more about the book will follow. I just wanted to start this new adventure by saying, even though I’m not a hundred percent clear on how I got here, I’m glad of it. And I’m already working on book two with Jo and her tribe.


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