Friday, August 23, 2013

two kinds of weird

Ah, duality. Always my favorite literary theme. The interplay of light and shadow. Coffee or tea, today? Going up, or heading down? One of these things is not like the other. Is it the outside David or the inside David? Is it live, or Memorex?

Today I found out that there are two places one can purchase postcard stamps: the post office, or a tobacco store. And not just ANY tobacco store; it has to be the type that doesn't sell espresso and food. But when you purchase stamps from a non-post office vendor, and then scribble out a card and take it to a post office, you will be told that you are shit out of luck. Turns out, you must go back to the tobacco shop and slip your missives in a special box they have there.

Also, by the way, the second floor of a building is 1. A first floor is designated 0. You can imagine the infinite challenges to a person who has to mentally pick up a pencil before giving right/left directions.

A year ago, when my agent started schlepping RAISING CHEER around, with the characters still firmly in my psyche, I embarked on a sequel with the working title, TWO KINDS OF WEIRD. And guess what? It was set in Florence. I'm not making this up.

Well, I got a bit waylaid and downhearted about the whole project, and after the first three chapters of the sequel, I put it aside. The whole Florence-studying art abroad thing has been so done, right? Except that, in Brady's case, I sort of set up the ending of the book for a future one to take place right here in Firenze! Thing is, though I had a sketched out plot (thank you plotboard), I didn't really have the soul of the book the way I did right from the get-go with RC.

But now that's changed.

Yesterday, trekking through the Uffizi, I had a moment of clarity while taking in the various Madonna-and-Bambinos in the medieval art room (it's brilliant how they show the baby steps toward realism in these three masterful pieces). The paintings illustrate, like nothing else could, the influence of perspective on art and culture.

But it wasn't until I wound around the U-shaped former office building and then took in the galleries on the first floor (or was it the zero floor?) that the deal was sealed. Of course there was a boy involved (With YA, there's always a love interest, right?). In the corner of the Caravaggio room, there hung a quiet painting they believe is a self-portrait (not the Medusaesque one, a much more normal-yet-bad-boy one that isn't on any googleable webstie that I can find, and I'm therefore obsessed). Brady's journey in the second book will be complicated by a boy who embodies the essence coming off of that canvas. Does that wet your whistle? I hope so!

So, ya'll, something's brewing. And now I embark on the second phase of this journey. Off to the hills near Siena.

What are you working on today?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:20 AM

    This post gives me such a thrill. To think of you and your book-brewing, halfway across the world, with all these ideas and inspiration. I love the sound of you.

    I'm working through a second round of edits on BLACKBIRD. This is my favorite part of writing, because there's so much to the story already, and I really know the characters and can keep getting deeper into their heads.


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