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THE HOUNDS OF SPRING a novel by Lucy Andrews Cummin

UPCOMING READINGS:

No scheduled readings at the moment. 

DONATIONS So far (March 2019) I have donated $120 to the Humane Society of Chittenden County.  This represents 2018.  Thank you everyone who gave a little extra!  
The Hounds of Spring is available!   Published by Leapfolio,a joint venture partner of Tupelo Press, North Adams, Massachusetts.  E-edition pending.
Purchasing my book from Tupelo Press (TupeloPress.org) will directly  benefit both the author and the press, so please consider taking this route!  Visit Tupelo/Leapfolio and see what else is on offer!    It is available on Amazon and should soon be available for bookstores to purchase to sell on the major book distributors, Ingram and Baker & Taylor.  Please contact me here or at Tupelopress if you are having problems.  If you live in New England or the mid-Atlantic region and would like to host a book party or a salon with your book club or would like to recommend your library to me as a reading venue, please contact me …

Showing Up

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Studio and Finbar
So writing doesn’t just “happen. As with any prolonged effort, strength and stamina must be nurtured. The strength is of the "have faith in yourself" kind and the stamina is the "yes, you do have to go over this manuscript for the twentieth time and (fill in the blank) to make the story work." Writing a short story is a 5 Kilometer race.  Writing a novel is one of those crazy ass cross-country marathons people do wearing tutus and shoes made of tire rubber.  Even knowing these things there was a part of me that still thought that, now my life was calming down and my energy coming back, I could  pop out to my studio and get to work just like that.  So, like the New Year’s Resolution jogger, I set out, puffing resolutely.  (You know what happened to that jogger?  No, because you never saw them again.)     
The first few minutes went all right as I busied myself with housekeeping tasks: hanging up my coat, taking off my boots, putting on slippers, tur…

I'm baaaaaccckkk!

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Blogs are vulnerable to abandonment and I've been absent.  Enthusiasm and discipline can waver as finding fresh ideas grows harder or maybe Life Intrudes so that writing the blog falls ever lower on the To Do list until it falls off altogether.

Then there is the problem of not writing.  What do you write about in a blog about writing when you are not writing?  Sure, you can write about the fact that you are not writing, but mostly I knew  my problem was not writer's block, but a case of Life Intruding, of discovering that  I had been operating on will-power and had run out of fuel.  What seemed best was to hunker down, rest, and have faith I'd recover.

I'm here because  along with the thawing happening outside (at long last) I am thawing inside.  I am feeling more like myself.  I haven't been writing new fiction yet, but I have been reading some of what I wrote last year, surprised, as I always am that it's "not so bad" or "less bad than I expec…

Am I Having Fun Yet?

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A friend remarked that this part, the writing of new material, must be the most fun.

My polite response was "Hmm, maybe," because my inward one was, "Are you fucking kidding me?" For me writing new material is like--no, I'll leave that to your imagination--let's just say, not comfortable.  The problem is that in the beginning I know I'm just making stuff up.  During this first period, where I am shuffling ideas around, adding and subtracting characters, moving them from here to there, changing names, changing their occupations, height, hair color and other characteristics, believing in what I am doing and believing in the story is a struggle.  If, after a time, the story doesn't take on a life of its own, I know it won't float and put it aside.   While the problem of awareness of "making stuff up" never fully goes away, in a successful story there is a gradual reversal until the balance shifts from me to the story itself.  When it fe…

A Step into the Unknown

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As the finished manuscript of The Hounds of Spring went off to the printer, I was quite sure I was done forever with Poppy Starkweather,  but so many readers have fervently urged me to continue I am exploring the idea.  The question is, is there sufficient mystery here?  Is there more we need to know about Poppy?  When  I wrote the first draft of The Hounds of Spring almost a decade ago I not only had specific goals (one was to set myself a doable task thus the 24 hour time frame), but I had a  "what if" question, closely related to my life, that I was eager to explore.  Without a doubt some of the intensity of The Hounds of Spring is a result of that quest. The above image captures some of what I have been feeling as I plunge back into Poppy's life.   Albeit in a different way, this is just as big a leap into the unknown; a fragile bridge over an abyss has to be crossed.  As with me, Poppy has moved on; her life is changing.  The biggest difference is that this time arou…

Three Cheers for Good Old Storytelling

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When something big happens in my life I find I can’t talk about it until I have cobbled together a new narrative about what happened and have made a start at fitting the new experience into my greater life story.

Humans seem to be compelled in this way.  We don’t let our experiences wash over us and disappear, instead we mull, we question, we try to learn so we can do better 'next time.'  Most importantly, we offer the story of our hard-won wisdom to others. One reason that I think so many people yearn to write fiction is that we are all of us already storytellers.  Social interaction between human beings largely consists of telling our stories to each other, from ones as trivial as the trip to the vet to those as profound and painful as caring for an ailing parent. There are happy stories I love telling, and others I don't love telling, but I will share when I think the listener will be responsive.  Telling my own stories is energizing and illuminating especially when go…

Scaffolding 3 - Streamlining

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In my last entry when I wrote “streamlining emotionally” as part of the process of writing the novel, I did not mean limiting any emotional content within the story.  No, I was thinking about my choice to write the novel originally in the first person.  
Calling this decision a choice (or even a decision) is disingenuous in that, I never considered any other option when I began writing.  Or, if I did, the choice was lightning quick, feeling as opposed to thinking.  In retrospect I knew (or hoped I knew) that the intensity of the first person would bring an energy and momentum to the story.  And it did work: using the first person helped me get the story onto the page.  
As it turned out, the first person narration was scaffolding.  When I began revising, I could feel that there was something scattered and diffused about the text that was preventing me from pulling the pieces of the story together.  The focus shifted all the time in a way that didn’t feel right.  Early readers saw and po…

Scaffolding 2 Tick Tock

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Someone asked why I chose to set this story in a single day and I had to admit I could not remember exactly, so rather than guess, I went to do research on myself!
There was nothing in my journals about the matter. In the computer files for the first draft, however, I found an incomplete chronology, written on January 10 of 2010, five days after starting the blog in which I wrote the novel, and was reminded that originally the story started the night before when Poppy, brushing her teeth, has the idea that the following day she will, like Boswell, write down every single thing that happens.   
A clue.
As I poked around my files, I found another clue.  In a forward to the first draft that I sent around a couple of years later, I wrote that I had hoped the pressure of writing the novel on a blog would help me to “write a novel in serial form without stopping and going back to ‘fix’.”  Even if I had only one reader I felt that would help me keep going.  Yes!
You could say that I consciously …