Dear Friends and loyal Readers,
It’s been far too long since our last communication, as my life, and I’m sure yours, just hurtled along.
Since my last grand unforgettable 2007 tour of New Zealand and Australia, I have retreated into the bear cave, to write the next book, that’s become imminently due. The writer’s life during those brief moments we see each other seems so exciting—I’m well-dressed, made-up, you, too, are all beautiful and bejeweled; we eat good food, we have microphones, so our voices are amplified, we connect, we laugh, we sign books with fountain pens and take fuzzy pictures that sharpen our memories of those few happy minutes. You may hear my voice on the radio, occasionally see me on TV. I love meeting you, talking to you, seeing your faces, your smiles. I love hearing you say inexhaustibly wonderful things about my books.
But the reality of my life, the other thousand days between tours, is me in one room, with myself and my track pants and hoodies, sitting, sitting, sitting in front the blank screen, in a room full of windows on which the shades are drawn to keep out the sunshine. I sit and I think and I feel and I try to put on the screen all the things I feel in my heart.
Daily I used to go for a walk or a bike ride. But this summer, ridiculously enough, I sprained my foot while playing badminton (this is the only way my husband could beat me) and couldn’t walk and couldn’t ride, I could just sit. And no sooner had the foot healed that I fell from a chair onto a can of paint and split my knee open (ouch!) and after an extraordinary number of stitches, and a Frankenstein-like injury, I sat out the rest of the sunny days in my office, lamenting, imagining, writing. Oh, and occasionally playing my brand new spanking glorious Grotrian Concertino. What a piano. I don’t deserve it.
Still, the writer’s life is a lonely life, a life of solitude, and internal rumblings, and silence. It’s decidedly un-glam.
But on the plus side, soon there will be another book! And after that one, another one, close on its heels. The one I’m writing at the moment is about Larissa Stark, a wife, a mother, a theater director, a woman beautiful and successful in every way, except for the slight open spaces in the corners of her soul, the spaces into which she allows a passion for another man to flow in, and this is the love affair that changes her life and the life of everybody around her. It’s about love and its consequences, about children and their consequences, about life and its consequences
This novel is due to be published in New Zealand and Australia in the Fall of 2009. I’m getting very close to the last act, and now I really need your help.
I want to set the last part of my book in Jindabyne, Australia. Having been only on the coasts, east and west, and a little inland in Canberra, I could use a little help about some local color for that region. After you read Road to Paradise, so many of you wrote to tell me of Broken Hill, Australia. I’m looking for more of that here, but now before publication, so it can augment my book.
Can you help?
JINDABYNE. Has anyone grown up there? What was that like?
What defines the area? What’s beautiful about it? What’s ugly about it? Do the people who live there want to stay or want to go? Is there something mystical about the region? Has anyone come into contact with any poisonous animals?
Any small vignettes of specific impressions: food customs, annual fairs, places to eat, book shops, things to do, special drinks, would be unbelievably welcome. I’m looking for things about all the six senses of Jindabyne. What does it look like? What sounds does it make? What does it smell like? What food and drink is popular there? What do the trees, the grasses, the flowers feel like? And what is it like to live there, to visit there, to be there?
As a small sign of my gratitude, perhaps I can do what we did for the Summer Garden. I will put all the names of those who wrote in with a Jindabyne story into a hat, pull five names out, and send you an autographed copy of the new book before publication. So if you can help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please don’t forget to write Jindabyne as the Subject of the email.
And in the future, watch this space, because I’m going to come back to it, and keep in touch with you here.
One thing I’d like to mention…the screenplay. Or should I say, THE SCREENPLAY. I feel like I’m letting everyone down, Tania and Shura most of all. The truth is, once again, it’s become impossible to do other work while I’m living in Kai and Larissa’s world. The Grand Canyon was carved faster that this dang Bronze Horseman screenplay. I hope to resume my full-throttled efforts on it as soon as I deliver my book manuscript to my editor.
In the meantime, thank you again for your support in the past, and in advance for your help in the future, and most of all, for all the words of joy and encouragement you’ve given me. You have blessed me more than you’ll ever know.