Literal and metaphorical shifting
I helped a friend move house on Saturday, and she was kind enough to put me in charge of unpacking the kitchen in her new place.
I am somebody who loves to bring order to a chaotic universe, so of all the possible moving tasks, this is my favourite. I set up my speaker and sang along in the sunny, empty space to Motown classics while I stocked pantry shelves, arranged utensils in their drawers, and rinsed dusty wine glasses - because my friend deserves wine in glasses that shine.
The whole time, I was thinking of this; this newsletter, these books I’m writing, this new move in my own life.
Thirteen years ago I was a full time writer, and then I was a part time writer and a full time English teacher, and then I gave more and more to teaching, until I had little left for writing. I love teaching, but it takes a lot of attention to do it well. I got a nasty concussion; that shook me up. There’s this plague you might have heard about; that shook me more.
Last year, I stole a week out of three school holiday breaks, and I went somewhere beautiful in my beautiful country, and I wrote a novella I’d been unsuccessfully trying to write for the year before that - a romantic, magical novella about a woman who gives up the security of her steady job, and takes the risk of pursuing creative fulfilment.
“Oh,” I said, when I’d finished. “Oh, okay.”
And when I went back to school for the final term of the year, I handed in my resignation.
Now I’m a full-time writer and a part-time relief (substitute) teacher. There are challenges! It’s a risk! But I’m taking it, and I’m so grateful that you’re here with me as I make my own new moves, write new books, and explore new opportunities.
I mean, look, no lie, this newsletter is a marketing tool. But I don’t do very well with capitalism for the sake of capitalism, or even capitalism for the sake of creativity.
So I want you to feel (and be!) welcome here, and provide a space for a community of readers. Let’s be good to each other!
I’ll be posting every week or so - maybe twice in one week if I get very excited about a new cover or a sale I want you to know about, or once in a fortnight if there’s less going on. I’ll be writing about writing and my own books, of course, but also what it’s like to live in Christchurch, (a city of parks and car parks), the other things I’m making (cooking and sewing, mostly!) and any interesting nuggets from my research.
(Last week, research started with a whole bunch about flowers and plants associated with death, and then I went onto current architectural trends, and then the kind of food and décor you’d find at a mid-market ski resort, and finally the process of becoming a cargo ship captain. Let me know if you’re especially interested in any of these or want to know why I was looking for them.)
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And if you want to support me AND read that novella I was talking about, please pre-order Bespoke and Bespelled on Amazon. I realise I drew a parallel between myself and the heroine, but let me just assure you that we’re not the same. Sure, we’re both big ladies from New Zealand who like to sew, but Marnie’s a no-nonsense magical costumer designer and I’m a bossy mundane writer who loves costume design. Totally different! Plus, she foils magical sabotage on a film set and falls head over adorable kitten heels for the movie's socially awkward star, and that’s sadly not on my to-do list this month.
(Aren’t those sunglasses great? I asked the cover artist for the most obnoxiously huge movie-star-going-incognito glasses she could find, and she really came through for me.)
Nearly every time I talk to someone about the changes I’m making, it seems they have a story of their own! Have you made any new moves recently? Feel free to hit reply and let me know!
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Yay for all of this! And especially great that new fiction is forthcoming.
One question: Will _Bespoke and Bespelled_ be available in other formats than Kindle? I prefer ePub (for reading in Apple Books), but I know that the vast majority of sales for most ebooks tends to be on Kindle; if it won’t be available in other formats, I’m fine with ordering the Kindle version.
Lovely post Karen. So very excited to hear how things are going as you progress through your creative life. The whole cover for Bespoke and Bespelled, including sunglasses, is absolutely gorgeous.