Welcome to the October Country
Well, that’s it, folks. Summer’s gone. So we might as well dive straight into that metaphorical pile of leaves and immerse ourselves in this crisp October country (ala Ray Bradbury). I’m no longer able to afford PSLs, but thanks to a recent trip to the USA, I’ve got a hearty little stockpile of CheeseIts and hazelnut coffee that should get me through to spring (just kidding, I ate all the CheeseIts already).
What have I been up to?
Was honored to read a poem of mine at Meadowpark Picture‘s event One Pint to Line, celebrating their writing-to-video project. Honored, also, to have a story of mine (‘Stonecutting’) in the project. The event was held in Glasgow’s Old Hairdressers. The Old Hairdressers is a cool hipster bar, accessible via a dark, wet alley (or maybe it was just a regular street; I had just arrived from Chicago that morning and existed in a jetlagged haze). After nearly crashing (what I think was) a vegan potluck, I made my way up to their event space. Met some cool people. Heard some cool stories, poems, and music. Great night.
Yeah, I also started my PhD. I’ve got three years to write a novel (or short story collection) and some critical work to accompany it. As a creative writer, the critical stuff ought to freak me out the most, but it’s the creative work that I’m most anxious about. In case you weren’t aware, writing is hard. Creative writing is especially hard because you’ve got this little vague idea or feeling in your mind’s eye and somehow need to extract that from your brain and drag it onto a blank page and then pulverize and percolate it and cut it to pieces and then DO something with it. Like publish it or something.
Welcome to my castle.
But instead of trying to meditate away my anxiety, I’m diving into it (like that metaphorical pile of leaves). I’m going to write through it. Let’s see what happens.
Okay, actually, something already happened. I started writing a story about a French girl who walks underground into a mirror version of her life, where everyone has fun and loves her, and she has to decide if she wants to stay in this alternate reality or go back to her unhappy life above. I haven’t finished it. Don’t assume reality is better than fiction.
I’ve also signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) — the month of November where several thousand crazy people write 50,000-word novels in 30 days. Ala Steven King, here’s my ‘situation’:
What if an American woman, recently unemployed, moves to Glasgow to live with a cousin she’s never met, and after accidentally gaining the ability to recognize Faeries finds herself attempting to catch a Faerie serial killer that’s ravenging the Glasgow magical underground?
This novel is my ‘side hustle’. The fun thing I write on the side while I’m working on the PhD. I’ve never written a crime novel before. I expect this to be a sobering experience.
If you, too, are writing a novel this November, let’s connect.
Angie Spoto is an American fiction writer and poet. She holds a dual-Bachelors degree in creative writing and business management from Lake Forest College and is completing a doctoral degree in creative writing at the University of Glasgow. She has lived in Austria, the Netherlands, and now lives in the UK.