Playing with the girls in the basement

A new book is brewing.   Rather dramatically at times, as will sometimes happen.  My office is scattered with magazines and new CDs and paintbrushes.  I’ve scotch-taped a bunch of photos to the closet door while I’m letting it all brew.   To the outside view, this doesn’t much look like work, honestly, and I can fall prey to the "just get busy" syndrome that can be so devastating to an idea that’s winding its way through my imagination, sending out runners of silk to anchor itself here, there, all sorts of odd places.  This makes me think of the first trimester of pregnancy, when you’re so tired and when you close your eyes for three minutes, you fall into that other world, the dreamer world, and it’s hard to tell which is the real world.  There’s a lot going on below the surface.  Hidden.  Quiet.  Gossamer.

This very morning, I was thinking, "I guess I should make a
chart or something. So I have a plot. So I know what I’m doing."
And the Girls in the Basement, who’ve been playing Keb Mo really loud, and cutting things out to glue on the walls, and ordering
CDs like Sonny and Terry  and Marc Broussard and getting SO excited about the storm map on the
wall and practicing their accents, looked up and said, "Plan? We don’t need a
plan.  WE know what we’re doing.  If you know, you’ll fuck it up, so just
mind your own business."
So I went for a walk with the dogs and listened to Lucinda Williams and
smelled biscuits baking and remembered a really cool bit of woman-magic that always has intrigued me, and figured out the hero’s name, and there is a big southern thread to this book, which has been missing from my books over the past few years.  Suddenly, it’s just there again.   Maybe I am pining for my grandmother, or for my late mother-in-law.  They both passed in the autumn, two years and three years ago, and I wish I could have a chat with them.   Or maybe, the girls want to play with other material, taste new things.  Maybe I have no idea where books come from or why, but my job is to say, "Oooh, this one seems like it will be fun."
And I remind myself to play.  Just play.

6 thoughts on “Playing with the girls in the basement

  1. I think I have everything of Lucinda Williams. I LOVE Lucinda Williams. Her song Lake Charles was the seed of one of my books.

  2. *Love* that CD. I picked up WEST yesterday. Also Eva Cassidy’s Song Bird, which is a funny mix, but I don’t care. When the girls tell me I need something, I’m just saying “yes, miss.”

  3. Eva Cassidy is wonderful, and my latest glom is Patty Griffin. When I was working, I used to listen to, and found her there and now am a total fangirl.

  4. I bought Patty Griffin yesterday, too! My editor loves her. And I know there was one more I bought….hmmm. Oh. Brandi Carlile. Also a recommendation.

    I’m going to visit my boy today and take him to lunch, so I’ll listen to them all in the car.

    Which book did you write to Lake Charles?

  5. Love this post Barbara. It’s a great reminder to me not to rush into panic mode and chain myself to the computer to do my 1,000 words before the Girls have time to have some fun. I like Eva Cassidy too. And I’ve not heard of Patty Griffin so I’ll have to check her out.

  6. Mel

    I bought Patty Griffin just the other week, Children Running Through. Great album. Beautiful voice.

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