If there is one certainty about teaching in a university, it’s that in the first month or so of every semester, you have to give in to the reality that you’ll be helplessly swept along in the churning river of tasks that comes with each new class, each new group of students who–in spite of divergent personalities–you as the teacher have to try to gather together as a functioning team.
Now that I think of it, this is very much the way it is for me to start new fiction, with various and not clearly unified voices clamoring in my head, trying to get attention for their stories. In recent months, I’ve been grabbing nuggets of free time for research for my second novel, and so that’s been filling my head, too, with a din the characters must struggle to be heard over, but once in awhile–this morning, for instance–I heard and saw one thread of one more character’s story with absolute clarity.
Now that my spring classes have turned into teams, I find myself within swimming distance of the shore, and I’m looking forward to more time in the next few months to walk along, listening to my characters. Maybe by summer’s end, I’ll be able to share a hint with you of what the next novel is about!