After nearly two weeks away from the daily grind, I find myself rediscovering my morning routine. For instance, why do I drink so much tea on days that my daughter has school but have no desire for tea when she doesn’t?
Answer: It’s cold out there. By the time I get home from walking the neighborhood kids to school my legs burn with cold and my nose runs making tea warm and very delightful. Today it is 32 ounces of Traditional Medicinal Organic Rose Hips.
The Northeast is anticipating a snow storm. I wouldn’t be surprised if my region gets a foot of snow tonight. Of course, storms being what they are I also wouldn’t be surprised if we get four inches. My neighbor has already informed his son that school will be canceled tomorrow. That’s a tad premature.
So, I have several options for the two hours before I head to work. Not including the obvious. I will need to eat a meal. As I enjoy my tea, I ponder… Do I reply to a recent email from my high school peer JM Cooper who is progressing with her MFA in YA? That is the most compelling option, but the email would require the answers to various “how are you” and “what are you writing?” questions. Not sure I know the proper response.
Do I continue reading Robert Root’s memoir Happenstance? I have a review of it due on January 20 for Hippocampus Magazine. I feel like I should remember this guy from my undergraduate career as an English major. The book has yet to excite or bore me. I’m in the vicinity of page 50. Thus far, he has approached his life as one might expect of a literary scholar. He examines family photos and interprets poems and letters written by family members. This technique leads me to believe he is looking for answers, or perhaps even order, to his life more so than setting out to tell a story.
In my little side foray as a book reviewer, I have discovered that I only enjoy memoirs that have some sort of larger message. Sheridan Vorsey’s Resurrection Year gave insight into the intersecting and conflicting emotions that come when Christians face infertility. Kylie Jones’ Lies My Mother Never Told Me resonated with me because 1. I’m a francophile 2. I’m an English major and her father is a famous novelist and 3. It addresses alcoholism and growing up as a child of an alcoholic (something I share). My all time favorite memoir is by Ted Morgan, a journalist conscripted by the French during the Algerian War. He combines the horror of war, the skills of a journalist and the everyday realities of love and sex.
The final option for this morning is to work on my new novel. It’s connected to my Fashion and Fiends universe but features new characters. It occurs after my first manuscript in the series and overlaps the second, bridging the time gap to the third. I have chosen the youngest sister of Basilie Saint-Ebène d’Amille as my protagonist. Basilie is a main character in all of my Fashion and Fiends novels. The third manuscript is “her” book.
But for now I turn to Jacqueline Saint-Ebène. Born in spring of 1968, eleven years after her eldest sister, Jacqueline became a doctor. An Ob/gyn to be exact. While she appreciates the complexity of the female reproductive system, especially as she has seen several of her older sisters struggle with pregnancy and fertility issues, Jacqueline quickly discovers that she doesn’t want to spend the next twenty or so years with her hands inside other women’s vaginas. Out of boredom and perhaps as an act of rebellion, she joined the Army Health Service. After an initial tour in Djibouti, she re-enlists for eight years. My story picks up with her when she’s serving a deployment in/near Algeria during the Algerian Civil War. She mysteriously receives transfer orders to Paris, where she will examine a pregnant veteran who served in the health corps in 1978. The orders seem strange and yet logical when her boyfriend, a health corps psychiatrist, joins the team and they are asked to investigate other veterans connected to a certain mission in 1978. One of them is Jacqueline’s brother-in-law, Étienne d’Amille.
Which will I select?