“Work is more fun than fun.”
– Noel Coward
Hello from the Writing Cave on this first Monday of August.
It’s the time of year when many of my friends are on vacation. My parents went to Scotland and Norway, and my husband’s family is at their summer place in Brittany, France. While I’m all for spending a week at the beach, or getting lost hiking in a quiet, dark forest, I’ve been finding a deep sense of peace in my writing routine. It made me wonder about the distinction we make between work and play, because (like Noel Coward) I often feel that my work (writing) is more fun than not.
OK, be honest: does that make me boring? Maybe… Oscar Wilde did say that he was of the opinion that “hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing to do.” But I would argue that when I’m writing a novel, it doesn’t feel like “work” so much as dreaming or meditating. Of course, writing isn’t like that for everyone. I know some writers who do not find writing fun (at all). They find sitting in front of a blank page to be agony. Whether I’ve tricked myself into thinking otherwise, or I have some strange defect, I don’t feel that way. When I’m faced with a new project, I feel that I’m free to make anything happen. It’s an odd and wonderful feeling, knowing that a new vista is opening before me: a new story, a new character, a new adventure. That’s why I do what I do, despite the difficulties and frustrations writing brings.
Is there anything that makes you feel that way? Opening a new book? Going to a new place? Meeting someone who makes you laugh? Send me a note and let me know… (And if you have a picture of that experience that makes you feel that way, please send it as well and I may share it in my next newsletter).So, all of that is to say that there’s no vacation for me this summer. In my free time, I’m spending time with my friends and eating:
It may come as a surprise to you, but there is incredible Japanese food in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. My new favorite spot is called Sai-Ko; check out their Instagram photos. And look at this nigiri sushi I ordered. It was incredibly good and I highly recommend it.
The closest I’ve come to an escape this month has been finding this Vintage red Oldmobile, which reminds of the get-away cars you see in gangster films. Here I am, posing like a moll, ready to take off with the loot…
If you’ve been following me on social media (@danielletrussoni and @DaniTrussoni), you know that I’ve been reading a lot because I’m starting a new novel—the sequel to The Puzzle Master, which is out next summer. If you haven’t heard about it, here’s a description from the writer Lisa Scottoline that might get you excited for it.
“I loved Danielle Trussoni’s The Puzzle Master, an erudite novel that’s an alchemical mix of horror, mystery, and historical fiction. It’s the story of savant-level puzzle-solver Mike Brink, who’s called to a women’s prison to decipher a drawing that may unlock the secrets of convicted killer Jess Price. Brink falls under Price’s uncanny spell as soon as he meets her, launching a story that’s a thrill ride through space and time, love and hate, and even good and evil.” – #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline
Finally, I have an exciting opportunity for any non-fiction writers who are interested in learning the art of writing a book proposal. San Miguel Literary Sala presents: Bang Out Your Book Proposal! with Anna Knutson Geller, running from September 13th to November 15th.
Recommended ReadingI’ve spent a lot of time reading about ciphers, codes and puzzles as I prepare to write the follow up to The Puzzle Master. If you’re looking to read about codes and puzzles, here are some recommendations:
Simon Singh’s The Code Book was first published in 1999 and offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logistical breakthrough that made Internet commerce secure, The Code Book tells the story of the most powerful intellectual weapon ever known: secrecy. You can grab your copy at Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.
Another enlightening read is Marcel Danesi’s The Puzzle Instinct: The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life, published in 2004. Will Shortz, Crossword Editor of The New York Times,wrote that Danesi “explores the psychology of puzzles and puzzling, with scores of classic examples. His pioneering book is both entertaining and enlightening.” You can find your copy at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
Readers and writing students often ask me about what I’m reading about books and literature. I’m excited to share a few recent articles to check out. Let me know what you think…
This article examines genre with refreshing insights…
“On Dead Girls And Feminism In Horror”
An enlightening deep dive into The Red Arrow by William Brewer
There are always more fascinating writers out there to learn about…
“Josephine Baker, International Woman of Mystery?”
COVID impacted publishing in good ways and bad…
“The ‘Great Publishing Resignation’ Exposes The Failings Of The Industry”
I try to keep up-to-date on the most important issue we face: the climate…
“To Fix the Climate We Need to Rewire the Economy, Our Democracy, and Our Brains”
I am part of the incredible low residency writing program at Salve Regina. As such, I’m always on the lookout for submission opportunities for emerging writers. I know many of you are writers, and might be interested in sending out your work. Check out these select opportunities for getting your work published.
Dedicated to advancing literature in the digital age.
Length: ranges widely by genre
Payment: $50 to $1,000
Explores how writing works and reads pieces with a focus on the elements of craft.
Length: ranges from 1,000 to 6,000
Payment: $100 to $200
Interested in work that is not so much “about” music, but rather enacts or composes, it.
Length: varies by genre
Deadline: September 2nd, 2022
A nationally distributed, independent literary arts magazine rooted in the Midwest.
An international literary magazine of unique fiction, poetry, nonfiction, artwork, photography, and graphic narratives.
Length: varies by genre
Payment: one free copy, discounted copies
Finally, I opened the floor to my friends on social media again this month to take any questions about my new books or the writing/reading/publishing world at large.
1) If you weren’t a best-selling author, what would you be doing?
This question reminds me of an op-ed Haruki Murakami wrote in The New York Times about the trajectory narratives, both personal and otherwise. It’s called “Reality A and Reality B” and it feels as true now as when he wrote it in 2010.If you get hit with the paywall, email me and I’ll send it to you in a message.It is a puzzle in and of itself, thinking of all of the possible paths we could take and might have taken and still might take. Do those paths ever truly go away? Or do we find them as we move along in our “Reality A” or “Reality B”?Anyway, to answer the question more directly: If I wasn’t writing, I believe I would be working with books in some capacity. I’d be a bookseller (I worked as one in college) or a librarian (I worked in an archive when I was just out of high school) or an editor (a job I’ve always secretly fantasized about). I think I have the disposition and temperament of a bibliophile, and so if my writing career hadn’t worked out, I would most certainly be deep in a stack of books somewhere.
2) I’m a published poet and I still have issues with “imposter syndrome.” I’d be grateful for any advice.
This is a wonderful question, because I think that all writers (and creative people in general) wonder about their place in the creative hierarchy. Writers are always wondering: Is my work read? Does it matter? Is what I’m doing legit? And while I know that it is impossible not to think of these questions, and it is easy for me to say (and hard for me to do), I would advise you find a space in your daily practice where all of that doesn’t matter, where it is just you and the process, you and the beautiful things that you are transporting from your mind to the page, and—when there’s an instance of doubt about you or your work—go back there. If you can hold onto that moment and stretch it into the rest of your day, those questions of whether or not you ‘belong’ doing this, or are ‘good enough’ to be doing it should feel less threatening. Some practical things I do when I’m feeling unsteady about my work:Get off the internet and social media and take a walk.Hold my favorite books in my hand and think of what that writer had to do to make it (the sacrifices and the choices and the faith needed to create that one work of art).Take a really hot bath/shower and try to ‘reset’ my thought process.
Do something exhausting (running, yoga, etc.)As always, a big thank you to everyone for spending the time with me here, on my website, and across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. My books wouldn’t be possible without your support! Please stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing.
If you want to stay in touch, connect with me on social media!