About twenty years ago, we lived in a small house in Spring, Texas (a northern suburb of Houston). In front of that house were some huge pine trees that towered overhead like giants. These trees were so big that the lowest branch was a good thirty feet in the air, if not higher, and we didn’t have much of a front yard because the branches blocked out so much light that the grass had trouble growing there.
At that time, we also had a neighbor who worked for the city’s largest electrical provider, and he had some pretty awesome flat-woven nylon cordage that was soft and pliable like cloth, but had something like a 5000 lb. tensile rating. I remember tying hand tools to a length of that cable, and after many, MANY tries, getting a length of it over that lower-most branch so that I could hang a swing for the kids.
Imagine a swing that is connected to a thirty-something foot length of cordage. Imagine you are a child and can swing from one side of the yard to the other in one thrilling and terrifying go.
Imagine you are the parent of that child, watching those memories being made. That you are the one who lifts your little one up so she can hang onto the swing, clenching her eyes closed, partly in fear, partly in anticipation of the thrill to come.
I didn’t even know there was a picture of any of this. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t really remember a time when there was only a little handle for them to grip. We had something called a “sky chair” (pictured on the right) that we hung from that nylon cord, and that’s what I recall being there. But knowing me and my impatience, I can easily see me hanging an improvised swing up there before I got around to hanging the sky chair.
Last week was a pretty eventful week, between my birthday, Father’s day, the Orlando shooting and the predictable ensuing political fallout. But we also had a more personal event here at the Brackett household. Baby Bird came to visit for almost a week. And for my birthday she painted me a memory. Evidently she has a picture of a much younger me pushing a much younger her on that swing all those years ago, and she used it to paint one of the gouache pictures that she’s gotten so many requests for.
I have to admit, seeing that painting… well, I think there was some dust on it or some such, because I got something in my eyes when she gave it to me.
Yeah, MBH and I have some pretty amazing kids, and it’s things like this that constantly remind us of that little fact.
In other news…
Writing has been going well. I got some really positive comments from betas on the newest revisions to Chucklers. I was honestly beginning to worry about this one. Comments from the first round of betas were good, but not overly enthusiastic, and there were a few of them who had trouble with the complex timeline. This latest revision compresses the timeline, making it much easier to keep events together. And evidently it worked. I got a couple of those “I couldn’t put it down” comments that the writer always strives for, and have no complaints about following the sequence of events this time.
Also, I’ve had the first round of cover art from the publisher, but neither the editor I’m working with, nor I are really wild about the first attempts. That’s all right though. After all I’ve been through in the past with cover art, and the lessons I’ve learned, I’m not going to stress over this first attempt at all.
The new project, “End Point Pangaea“, is now officially underway. This one is going to be different. In order to get to the main story, I have to build the back story for the reader. In doing so, I’m finding that the dark and macabre mood from Chucklers seems to be bleeding (no pun intended) over into this new project. It concerned me at first, but I decided it was too soon to worry about it for now. I’m going to write and see where it all takes me, and if the story ends up being too dark, I can make any necessary changes later.
And a final bit of writing news… Year 12 (the sequel to Half Past Midnight) has been languishing in a drawer as a stalled project for a few months now. I got most of the novel written, but was unhappy with where the story was taking me and had absolutely no clue as to how to resolve the problems. This morning I had a bit of a breakthrough with it, and I think I know how to fix the issues. Keep your fingers crossed for me. :-)
So that’s it for now. Time for me to get back to work. Hope you all have a wonderful week, and stay safe!