Sunday, August 29, 2010

SUDDENLY I'm Wordless

This is my first post during the transition phase of A Good Blog Is Hard To Find. Karin Gillespie did such an incredible job founding the blog, promoting it, collecting authors, and trying to herd us. Now she has passed on the herding to the Great Pulpwood Queen Kathy Patrick who has taken the helm so that the blog would not die and writers everywhere would be forced to go to the page and write something instead of just watch reruns of The Price is Right. Kathy's first request has been for each of us to introduce ourselves anew so that new writers and readers will discover us for the first time or the thousandth time with a tad more insight. Which has brought me to the point of staring at the page with an a Mick Jagger lyric echoing in my head. Just that one line over and over. What I'm thinking is everybody in the territory of this good blog knows me. And like most misfit children (*see destined to grow up and become writers in small print) I could still look out the window on a rainy day and say - No one really knows me. Or just get lost in though between the raindrops and pretty much not have words to say.

But I'm here now and it's my day - bless those blog ladies who enforce deadlines - so I must do what writers do, I better go dig some words up worth your time and mine.
Let me see - what's in this box of me right now . . .

Well, right on top are the words I wrote for my last post that generated comments but also a lot of private direct emails about some of the obstacles we overcome as writers. It's still right here if you'd like to backtrack and find out a whole lot of details about the 'stuff' I've endured on the path to publication.   And here's the thing - if you think the following about introducing myself again - or talking 'bout myself  - is a tad too much. Seriously, check out that obstacles post again. Years of drought, hard knocks, and whole lot of lamenting have gone into this thing we call The Writer's Life that can look so glorious sometimes from the outside looking in.

Next up - the only superstition I have in this whole, entire world is about talking about a story, a novel, a character, a piece of dialogue before it is written down or when it is in process. That comes from my days of being an understudy, an apprentice, a student - of Dr. Yolanda Reed of the Loblolly Theatre fame. Don't talk it - write it. That being said, I've had the strangest character show up in my mind. She's an old rascal and keeps asking me in a none too pleasant voice, "Now, what do you want?"  As if I'm the one intruding on her world. (That's also a nod to my good friend the great author Charles McNair who said writing was a lot like controlled schizophrenia.)  So this woman is in my mind and she's watching me. She has a tendency to do that sometimes with one eye closed. I have a funny feeling if I don't talk about her that she will tell me some things to write down. I'll keep you posted on that.

I have two new novels brewing and words from each actually down on the page. Okay, make that three but that 3rd one I think better sit back and peculate for awhile before moving closer to the top of the pile. I'm running my fingers through those worlds, one set in Georgia and one in Tennessee. Both in timeless times you couldn't swear a date to. I'm determined in the midst of all manner of life happenings to commit to one of those stories and begin the completion of that novel on September 1, 2010 in a few days. You won't hear much more from me about those stories until one of them is completed besides a potential working title. Except this - no, I don't have a contract for that novel. No, I'm not submitting portions and trying to sell it in advance. No, I don't have time to write something big and full of wonder. And yes, I'm wild and crazy enough to lock myself in a room for hours and do it anyway. It's what we do. We are story people. This is our tribe. We write.

Speaking of tribe - I have the pleasure of attending the SIBA convention in Daytona in September and also presenting with buddy author Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. If you're attending please don't get away or lost in the busy without connecting or saying hello. Then it's only a few weeks before the tribe will descend on my hometown of Nashville for the Southern Festival of the Book including Ms. Tomlinson and the Pulpwood Queen herself Kathy Patrick who will be hosting not one but two panels during he festival.

I have the grand pleasure of having a new novel debut on my youngest son's birthday (which wasn't planned) September 7, 2010. The Miracle of Mercy Land will debut on 9/7/10 at 7pm at Davis Kidd in Nashville. It's a southern, mystical work that catches our main character Mercy Land in 1938 on the southern coast of Alabama. For a sneak peek at the first chapter check it out here.  I do so hope that you can join me for a little storytelling and a lot of fun if you are in the neighborhood. SNEAK PEEK



In other news a new non-fiction work, Praying for Strangers, An Adventure of the Human Spirit, will be published by Penguin/Berkley April 5, 2011. It's based on a resolution I had in 2009 to pray for a stranger each day. Funny thing was, it was a private issue and I never meant to tell anyone and I certainly never meant for it to turn into something public like a book or you can check out the blog and comments regarding the ongoing adventure at http://prayingforstrangers.com It really has been an adventure and the stories of the people I met along the way, and the experience of that journey is captured in the stories told. Please visit the website/blog and check in as the project develops a life of it's own.

One of my special labors of love is hosting and producing Clearstory Radio every Friday morning (soon moving to a daily morning slot) from Nashville at 107.1fm  The show features author chats, bits of book news and reviews along with fun musical interludes. (And if you'd like to be on the show please email me at river@clearstoryradio.com ) I've had the pleasure of featuring many of the contributors to A Good Blog Is Hard to Find, and recently featured a special salute to the blog and all that it has accomplished. To the past! To the future! To the now! Also - for those of you who have made it this far - if you know anyone really interested in writing and getting published please click the radio link to listen to last weeks program featuring an interview with author Michael Lister. I love the sage advice this man had to offer to those who dare to dream of having this wonderful, messy, mixed up life we call writing.

Oh - since this is a get to know me better blog post I think the best way you can know someone is by the company they keep and by that I mean what books they are hanging out with. This my real beside table. A strange collection of newly published books by friends, ARC's for review, recommended reads, small discoveries, recent buys and the ever faithful library last minute snatches - : The Improper Life of Bezilla Grove by Susan Greg Gilmore and The Immortals by J.T. Ellison. (Here's a photo where we converged on Susan's signings at DK) Mystics, Visionaries, & Prophets; The Wisdom of Donkeys (a delightful fun find); Counter Clockwise; Wisdom of the Benedictine Elders; Moving Toward Balance;  The Angel's Game; Cutting for Stone; rereading Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding and wading happily through the Sunday NY Times.

God bless you all. It's an honor to be in your company!

River



RIVER JORDAN is a critically acclaimed author, as she keeps telling her Mama who responds by saying 'Show me the Money'. She has managed to publish four novels by the grace of God, her husband's hard work and a touch of madness. She will begin  to complete a new novel Wednesday. She also may respond to an itch to return to the theater to sit quietly in the dark and watch the magic of words come to life on the stage. She still maintains her strange resolution to Pray for a Stranger each day except on Sundays when she takes a day off to rest and give thanks. And oh yes - to read. 

15 comments:

Karin Gillespie said...

I saw your book featured in Bookpage, River. It looked gorgeous. Loved this post.

Michael Morris said...

River -- Terrific post and a great book cover. I'm looking forward to reading your latest novel.

Susan Cushman said...

Your post sounds/feels so much like sitting down with a cup of coffee and just listening to you, River. You are a natural story-teller, even when you're just musing on your own life as a writer. I couldn't stop reading 'til the end. Can't wait to read Mercy Land, and may the muse be with you as you begin anew on Wednesday!

Kathy L. Patrick said...

What I like most about your posts River is your voice, like a River constantly flowing and changing like the seasons. The second thing I like about your post is you share a story deeply. I'm not a Twitter girl myself, I want the whole story, Can't wait until Nashville and may come in early! great, great post!

River Jordan said...

Hey to one and all. Thanks for reading. I know we were supposed to talk about ourselves so all I knew to do at this point was stay here is some stuff - and over here is some more stuff - and oh, yeah, there is this stuff here. Next time, back to the story's happening around me. :)

Peggy Webb said...

What a beautiful post, River - much like your work. Lyrical and inviting.

Anna Michaels said...

River, your love of words shines through this post! Lovely! Can't wait to read Mercy Land.

AMY said...

Ditto what Susan said. Your voice comes through so strongly that I hear it in my head when I'm reading your stuff (and that's a good thing). And Kat, thanks for "adopting" this blog.

Gerrie Ferris Finger said...

You're an inspiration, River. Great cover.

River Jordan said...

You guys are all so kind and generous. Thank YOU for loving words and stories!

Shellie Tomlinson said...

Love your words. I'm always sitting right there with you when I read 'em. It' a gift and you steward it well! Sail on, Rivuh!

Mary Yetta said...

River- When you talk I hear it like you are talking to me . That is the way I read your books too. Can't wait for Miracle of Mercy Land.To have you reading in my head again. Your voice is so smooth and calming. Loved the blog.

River Jordan said...

Shellie - thank you buddy as always for riding this rail with me. Mary Yetta, I bet my husband doesn't always agree with you on that :).
Thanks for your support and reading! See you in January.

Marybeth said...

I am going to be at SIBA and I would love to meet you. Loved this post!

River Jordan said...

Mary Beth,

I will be on stage with Shellie Rushing Tomlinson at 3pm Friday I think. It will be on the schedule. Please come introduce yourself if you can after that event! Looking forward to meeting you.

River