Three years ago I had a dream set on a Hawaiian island — I don’t know which one — that featured a character named the Goddess Cash. I transcribed the dream and wrote a short story based on it. And I began, without quite intending to, creating scenes for this character. I’ve amassed almost 100.
As any reader can tell you, a collection of 100 random scenes do not make a novel. Now I’m working on turning them into a coherent whole.
Recently, the opportunity arose to attend a writing retreat on the island of Kauai (thanks to Kahini). I spent five amazing days there in conversation with the story’s many characters, asking them what form the work might take. I hoped for some island inspiration but wasn’t quite prepared for the direction the inspiration went.
Being so near the beach and swimming almost every day, I spent a lot of time thinking about the ocean. And I thought about weather. I did some research on the effects of climate change on the Hawaiian islands.
The effects may be different than in Hawaii than in Cozumel, Mexico, where the beaches have been choked with an overgrowth of seaweed, a disaster for tourism and wildlife likely caused by human activity.
As I bobbed in the unbelievably warm and clear water of Kiahuna Beach, I felt privileged and sad. Who knows how long such a paradise on earth may last? A new book by David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth, (which is on my 6 Books of summer list, see below) says things are much worse than we thought.
I don’t know the direction my new novel will take. Will climate change figure into it? I’m not sure. What I do know is that I continue to feel called to explore through my writing the depths of the human psyche, the connections we have to one another, and how we create the shared stories that both reveal and call forth our world.
…meanwhile, back on the worldly plane
My 6 books
Thanks to The BookStop for putting 20 Books of Summer on my radar. I’m realistic about my capacity, so for me it will be “6 Books of Summer.” But that’s better than none! Here’s what is on my list, with a little explanation.
- The Atlas of Reds and Blues – Devi Laskar. Because I loved her poetry collection.
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera. Because I read it more than 30 years ago and it’s time to revisit.
- The Nocilla Trilogy – Agustin Fernandez Mallo. Because it sounds like the kind of form-bending work I’m aiming to achieve.
- Property: A Collection – Lionel Shriver. Because I enjoyed her novel The Mandibles and want to see what she does with short fiction.
- The Death of Mrs. Westaway – Ruth Ware. Because I need a good thriller to round out the summer.
- The Uninhabitable Earth – David Wallace-Wells. Because I had it on hold at the library and it just became available.
Literary fiction giveaway
If none of the books on my list sound enticing and you’d like to find some free reads, check out the Literary Fiction Giveaway I’ve organized through BookFunnel, running June 10 through July 8.
Do you have a summer reading pile? I’d love to hear what’s in it.