*Sniff*Sniff*Honk* I LOVE YOU GUYS, MAN!!!

Thanks for talking me off the ledge. The past couple of weeks have been so rollercoaster. And that’s not the rollercoaster of love, wah-hoo-hoo-hoo. I’ve had days where I sat for hours, burning valuable babysitter time, and ended up in the same place where I’d started. I just wanted to cry me a river. Then I’d have days where I’d get stuff done and feel righteous about it, only to realize the next day that maybe that wasn’t really going to fit into this book. By Friday night, I was despondent.

And then I managed to write a scene that gave me that good, lonely, sad feeling where afterwards I just didn’t want to talk to anyone. And that was great. πŸ˜‰

That’s the thing about writing sometimes. As much as I’m trying to dig deeper and deeper, getting closer to some fundamental emotional truth, I’m trying to run away from it at the same time. I’m trying to hold the truth away from me. Because going there is just so damn painful. And it’s not something you can name in a clinical way: “Oh, X happened and it reminded me of Y and so naturally I feel sad.” No, it’s more like you’ve pulled some emotional hair clog from the old pipe of primal memory, and suddenly you are flooded with all these…feelings. And how do you explain to someone that the cheap sparkly stucco ceilings on certain houses takes you back to your father’s townhouse in Texas after the divorce. And yes, it’s that it makes you think of him, charming but secretive, loving but lost to you, living another life in the bars, a life that will kill him eventually. It’s that it makes you think of how you sometimes connected for a moment in that desperate way that people do–over a drink or a movie or an intellectual discussion that skates across the surface of the roiling unsaid. That standing in the kitchen or driving to the airport, you reminded each other of these fleeting moments, these private jokes, as a way of holding on to each other, as if to say, “See? We aren’t really being pulled down and away from each other by gravity.” It makes you think of his house: stale smoke smell of cost-cutter cigarettes lingering in the cheap, came-with-the-house curtains; bourbon and whiskey in the high cabinet over the electric stove; the brown, low-pile carpeting starting to fade in the front room where the sun is strongest; the blue-and-green floral sleeper sofa where you sleep tentatively on top of the rough cushions that scratch your cheeks, not bothering to pull it out because you won’t be there long and truthfully, you’re not sure who has slept on it before you. It is that, while there, you actually have a respite from the other life with your mother, from her overwhelming need, her constant bid for reassurance, her daily litany of angry outbursts and paranoid ramblings that obscure you, whoever you are and need to be, in the haze of her resentment and fear.

But it is more than this. It is that when you lie there at night, staring up at that ceiling, watching the car lights move over it in sweeping arcs like the tide, you are aware of what that ceiling means: perpetual transience. You are aware that you are rootless in this life, as fluid and searching as those car lights. You are connected to no one, because to be connected to this, this stifled life, these unhappy, smiling people circling the drain is to go down with them. It is to die with your eyes open. And like those cars, you have got to get out of here, away, even if it means going alone. That ceiling is what you see every time you start to write, the white of the screen blinking at you like a warning that this is the only way out. But it will not be an easy ride.

25 thoughts on “

  1. you

    are a gorgeous writer, inside and out. Loved this. That’s it. Nothing profound to say, but that I was there with you and that’s a fine place to be.
    Sus.

  2. will there be another book?

    I loved “A Great and Terrible Beauty”, and I’d just like to know if there’s going to be a new book, and if so, when it’ll be released. I’m too lazy to try to read all the entries to see.
    -Denise

  3. Oh dear…

    Hi, fan and first time poster…you’re a beautiful writer, I loved GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, and I know I will love book 2. Is it crazy if I say — don’t put too much pressure on yourself? I myself am confident that you’ll write a great second book. Really what I liked best about your book was that you took me right there, to Victorian England (or exotic India, or the other realm) and I didn’t have to do a thing but read and enjoy it. A little bit the way your journal entry just did. I think all your research and creativity will come together and make another great ride and you’re just too in the middle of it now to feel confident.

    So, hang in there…

  4. AH!!! i love love love A Great and Terrible Beauty. i really cant wait for the 2nd one. i got some of my friends reading it and theres a line of people wanting to borrow my copy. you kick ass

  5. *sigh* Ok so I am just another nameless fan of A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray my favorite author of the past year [post the day I received the book] — and if I didn’t tell you I would be highly disappointed if I didn’t get to read more of your work, I would be seriously ignoring my conscience. A.K.A – Ms. Bray I’m prayin’ for ya to find what you need to finish this second book! I was so sad when I finished A Great and Terrible Beauty because I thought that was the end to one of my favorite novels — I tell you I craved more! So when I heard word [hah I could be a Rapper] of the trilogy I nearly messed in my pants .. I hope motivation from your fans [i.e- me] and your friends and the cosmic karma of the universe that all great writers must somehow possess – will get you through this “rough patch” πŸ˜‰ Good luck, you’re in my prayers.

  6. read your book in one sitting this morning. I didnt leave my couch for five and a half hours and my friends made fun of the imprint I left when I was done. The Book was wonderful and beautifully written.

    on a side note, i think i might have a crush on Kartik.

  7. Re: hi

    Thanks. The characters aren’t really based on anyone, per se. These are just some of the demented folks renting out the summer house in my head. They leave their bottle caps and used beach towels everywhere, too.

  8. Re: will there be another book?

    Thanks for jumping in for me. (I’m way slow these days.) Yes–sequel, which I am working feverishly on right now, is now to be titled REBEL ANGELS.

    SMELL THE GLOVE was already taken.

  9. I’d love to make your millenium. I am such a techno-dork that I didn’t realize I had to actually DO something to friend people. My husband informs me that it’s not enough to actually smile at my screen and say, “Sure!” He says he’ll show me how to do this soon. Bear with me till then.

  10. OMg i have such a BIG crush on KARTIC! OHH MMm eek love struck teenager dont mind me..hehe…but really you must make more love scence between them! i love romance so much…and kartic hehe eeek how embarrassing i have a crush on a fictional character o well who cares! I LOVE HIM! hahaha

  11. haha oh oh i spelled his name wrong…*smack* sorry about that heh some fan eh! haha…Kartik! yep there we go im fine that now heh. Keep on trucken ms.bray keep on trucken

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