I’ve been “starting” my second book for a year, but now that my first book is officially out on submission (which means it’s making the rounds of publishers, one of whom will hopefully want to acquire—i.e. publish—it), I have no choice but to actually sit down and start start it.
That, and I kind of promised the Canada Council for the Arts (who awarded me a grant to pursue book# 2 based on said promise, among others) that as part of my process, I would share the raw notes with my community. That means you. I have faith that you are out there, lurking…
Why? Firstly, to explore new ways of engaging with my desired audience. Secondly, because I thought that you might have a thing or two to say about the topic of habesha romance specifically, or immigrant romance in general, and some of that feedback could cycle back into the book directly or indirectly, giving it more weight, authenticity, etc. (The book is supposed to be a kind of habesha rom-com, centered around a wedding, of course. But a bittersweet rom-com. We are people of the tizita after all.)
Now that it’s time to actually follow through with sharing the raw notes with you (3 months behind schedule), it feels like a case of “it sounded like a good idea at the time”, or “it sounded so impressive on paper”. Every instinct is telling me to chicken out, write to the CCA and beg them to let me off this hook of my own making (but let me keep the $$ of course).
BUT I am gonna be brave and let the raw notes hang out, starting…now/jetzt/tout suite/ahora/ahununu!
Well no, starting tomorrow. Today is just introductory.
Technically, I began thinking about book #2 many ages ago, before I knew that was what it would become. Over the course of my lived and/or witnessed experiences of romance in my capacities as daughter, friend, cousin, sister, sister-friend, bridesmaid, and (sooner or later) ex-girlfriend (but never ex-fiancée or ex-wifey; what can I say, I lack ambition), I would get an idea, or something would strike me as particularly memorable, and I’d jot down these scraps of inspiration on scraps of paper.
Over time, these scraps of paper (I call them prompts) grew into a modest pile. 69 pieces, to be exact. Yep, the universe is poetic like that. Then, about a year ago I began doing free-writing sessions, each one inspired by one prompt I randomly picked from the Black tea jar where I’d stored the scraps. I collected the ‘used’ scraps in a Canadian honey jar. Make of that you will.
At the end of it all, what resulted was a hundred-or-so pages of raw loosely-connected writing on the above-mentioned theme, with a glimmer of story potential here and there.
So the idea now is that I will post, each day (ish), a brief excerpt from these prompt-inspired raw writings (’cause ain’t nobody got time to read pages and pages of anyone’s raw stuff). One post per prompt. That should take until almost the end of June, after which I’ll leave the material up for another 2 months before I wipe it all away at the end of August and we can all move on as from a summer fling.
I sincerely hope that you will share your thoughts on what you read, or on anything habesha/general immigrant romance-related with me, either in the comment section or via my contact form. Think of it as you contributing some genes, or a protein or two, towards the making of a new baby.