Having finished writing Tales of Spring Rain and sent it to my editor, I’ve burned my notebooks as I always do at the end of a project, they are just working notes and are finished with. Burning the notes is a moment of celebration when I can stand over the bonfire with an old fashioned and toast the new book. I have a few weeks before my editor Liz gets in touch, usually she sends me a letter identifying strands, asking questions, making suggestions and then the word-processed document itself comes back full of edits, track changes and so on. I’ve printed and bound my copy and when Liz has got back to me I’ll go to work on that, incorporating and changing it on paper. I do it on paper so I don’t have to sit at a screen doing the same thing over again, I can edit in bed, on a train, in a coffee shop. I’m trying very hard to reduce my screen time, it’s not healthy.
The sitting at my desk and writing part of this job is over for a few weeks. Until Liz comes back with her comments I can just hang out, do a bit of gardening, some office work, neglected tax returns, cooking, cleaning. My bathroom is clean, my floor is mopped, my desk is clear and back to the Zen like purity it has before I started work and while I try to forget all about the book so that I can come back to it as if it were fresh and new to me, my mind fills up in the early waking hours, the unguarded hours with ideas as the underlying themes start to reveal themselves. This is how it always goes, I send the book off thinking I am done with it and as soon as it has gone, the ideas start to flow again. The themes always reveal themselves at the end. That’s how it is with me anyway. Some writers put their work away for six weeks before they send it off. I can’t do that, I’m hungry and over-eager, needy. I send it off before its ready. Perhaps next time I'll be more grown up.
So ... arising while I try to forget the book are some of the themes of the story; getting rid of stuff, discarding the things that hold you back. Throwing out the past, death clearing as the Swedish call it. Pulling things out Marie Condo style and getting rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy, or as William Morris said: 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful’. The inevitable consequences of such clearing being freedom, happiness, joy. But there's a deeper theme of examining internal things that are not beautiful or useful including thoughts and beliefs, memories, feelings of loss, anger, hatred, fear. Exploring the usefulness of bad thoughts, reactions to bad news and the consequences of that on the individual, on relationships. I think some of these ideas are clear in the text and others are nodded to and need clarifying.
Apart from those themes, this is a Cinderella story, poor Cinders and her hard life she escapes her past, burns it to ashes, leaves her family and their expectations and becomes happy Cinders who is left with a beautiful present. But at a cost. Of course it is all set in a garden, and there's a mole or two, and in this story, Cinders is a man. It is a simple story, I hope you’ll like it.
Before then, I think I have a lot more work to do to make it ready for you.