Finished the Shaman Circus edits and emailed the clean manuscript back to Deb at Alll Things That Matter Press yesterday.
Meanwhile Shadow Archer Press is picking up with Christmas sales, so in between the holiday celebrations, garden work, the new part time job and writing, I'm constantly printing books.
As Shaman Circus moves onto the mock-up stage, I'm writing chapter 15 of Fireworks: Interference Equation but also have this thought in the back of my mind that I should finish and start the rewrite process on Shaman in Exile, while the Shaman Circus book is still in my head. It's odd. We've even discussed this at our writers' meetings, how one character will grab us and not let go.
Jacob snatched Shaman Circus away from Alex, and now Merri is threatening to do the same thing to Sean in Fireworks. A writer relates to each character differently for various reasons. So it's a juggling act to give each one the "page time" they deserve where they can say or do what they need to.
While I do write poetry by hand most times in a notebook, I write novels on my computer. I write quickly and need the advantage of a keyboard. And while I live close to downtown Greenville, I look out on trees, part of the roof of the house next door and a quaint shed from one window and from another look out on my back garden with it's azaleas, camellias, wisteria and flowers as well as my pecan and mulberry trees and an Ent. It's peaceful and always changing.
At the time I wrote Shaman Circus, I worked as a barista at Quarter Moon Cofffee and The Villge Cup, one of the best jobs I ever had. Fun, yet hectic. I was also working part time in the office for a company that served legal papers. I was also painting a good bit, oils mostly and getting involved in the local art scene when it was rapidly growing into one of the main cultural attractions of our city.
At this same time I managed the art gallery at the airport and met lots of artists and was exposed to many types of art. My life was built around work, weekly writing meetings of the Reedy River Rats Guerilla Writing Group, the occasional cooncert if one of my friends were playing, and art openings and even had a few of my own shows, one of which appears in the book. In fact, many of the events in Shaman Circus are based on my real life experiences, while other events were triggered by the headlines in the Times Picuayne after Katrina. I also followed a number of blogs about how survivors were coping.
I'm a huge fan of mythology and alchemy and was a professional astrologer for many years, so many of those influences are interwoven through the plot.
I didn't watch TV while writing Shaman Circus but did enjoy movies. Vanilla Sky, the Serpent's Kiss, Brotherhood of the Wolf were pivotal movies for me at the time. I was reading a lot on alchemy and writing a lot of poetry on the subject, reading The Magus by John Fowles, as well as the Aristos, his book on philosophy, Daniel Martin and Fowles' journals. I'm a sucker for biographies of writers and especially their journals and letters. (Rading Kerouac's and Anais Nin's journals in tandem at the moment along with the rare & wonderful little photographic supplement to aAnais' diaries that j michael niotta gave me.)
Two of the Reedy River Rats, Chris and Brian, are heavily into philosphy so they peaked my interest and for the first time in my life, I started studying philosophy, reading books they suggested, asking questions. There's a lot more philosophy in the second Shaman book, since it takes me a while ti digest all the various ways of looking at humanity, the world, our purpose for being here - all the usual questions. I tend towards the existentialists but am known to flirt with the ideas of other philosophers, as well.
I use a lot of bird omens in my writing both fiction and poetry. So they show up in Shaman Circus as well. I use astrology often, and the Morgan Grier Tarot a good bit as kick-off points for the angles I want to take on a chapter or in character development. These are tools I used for years and find they're great at opening doors to the subconscious where I beleive all our best writing comes from. Like Jung, I fell the subconscious is a storehouse of evry single thing we've ever encountered, even some we barely noticed at the time. And once we let the subconscious percolate on an idea, it will pull together things we would never think of on a conscious level, simply because we don't have time while dealing with the facts and actions we must encounter during day to day life.
That's why, when I say a "passage wrote itself" I'm speaking of when my subconscious pulled it all together while I worked in the garden, cooked, or was involved in some other project. And when I came to sit at the computer, if I was open enough, thanks to visual stimulation, i.e. art or the tarot, aural stimulation with music or even taste stimulation with savored flavors such as a glass of Muscadine wine, a very robust coffee from Leopard Forest or West End Coffee or Ancient Pleasures from Chocolate Fetish - handmade chocolates laced and dusted with cayenne pepper in the ancient Mayan tradition
Back to writing Fireworks: Interference Equation. Here's the music I'm listening to as I write: Din of Theves http://www.myspace.com/dinofthieves
and The Embalmers http://www.myspace.com/embalmers
and In a Lonely Place http://www.myspace.com/inalonelyplaceinalonelyplace.