#425: Is Today the Day?

Japanese maples and canvas awnings.
Corktown, Detroit, MI

R.’s friends, whose due date was a day after ours, had their baby three weeks early. Another friend, B., with a similar due date, announced his son’s birth literally a few hours ago. A question Julia and I have started asking every morning is: Is today the day?

So far it hasn’t been! So we carry on with our plans, however tenuous. I was warned about the post-residency slump but have seemingly scheduled my way past it; talked to my agent and editor this week, separately, and pitched a bunch of book ideas to both of them (after deciding that the novel I’d started should maybe come after the next one). I don’t know how common this kind of casual pitching is for other authors (you tell me!) but now I’m off and running on a long-percolating idea I might finally be ready to write.

In other exciting book news: the Chinese American Librarians Association selected The Many Mask of Andy Zhou as their 2024 Best Book in the Children’s Fiction category!

I’m currently reading TJ Klune’s Douglas-Adamsian The House in the Cerulean Sea, one of my fall mentee group’s monthly book circle selections. This is one of those simultaneous paper/audiobook reads for me, and the audiobook is worth listening to if only for the narrator’s character voices.

Non-fiction-wise, I finally started Helen Zia’s Last Boat out of Shanghai, and am pairing it with Patrick Radden Keefe’s The Snakehead, which digs into the tangled web of human smuggling that led to a freighter carrying three hundred undocumented Chinese immigrants to run aground off the coast of Queens, New York in 1993.

And how did I only just find out that Helen MacDonald (H is for Hawk Helen MacDonald) co-wrote a techno-thriller? And I only found out about it on a podcast where they and their coauthor Sin Blaché talked about their desert island video games?

Speaking of: We’ve also been enjoying the first season of The Power, based on Naomi Alderman’s novel of the same name, which I devoured after listening to, yup, her interview on that same podcast, My Perfect Console. In the interview Alderman talks about while she aims to write eight hundred words a day, including weekends, but the bit that stayed with me is that she allows herself, on tough days, to only do a hundred just to stay in contact with the story –“You can do that on the toilet, literally.”

Is today the day?