The New

A one-inch sculpture of 3-legged Lucy.  Thanks, Lyra.

A one-inch sculpture of 3-legged Lucy. Thanks, Lyra.

I started a new essay today.  It has nothing to do with my manuscript; nothing to do with mothers or grandmothers or daughters or families; nothing to do with being in college when you’re too old to be in college; nothing to do with …………. well, I was going to say “nothing to do with death,” but you all know me better than that, right?


I started a new essay today.  The first lines showed up about a month ago, and they keep building, looking for a structure and an arc.  As much as I hate the word “arc” because nothing, not a single fucking thing in real life, happens in an perfectly shaped arc.  Why do arcs always remind me of bell-curve grading scales?

I started a new essay today because I need a break from writing about what I’m writing about in my book.  I need a fresh look at looking.

I started a new essay today, an essay I do not, under any circumstances, want to write.  It’s about what happened before and during and after I received a letter in the mail, a long letter from a stranger with a photograph of bruises and no return address.

I even have a non-negotiable title.


What are you working on these days, and how goes it?



18 thoughts on “The New

  1. Lyra

    I love this. “A fresh look at looking.” Yes, yes, yes.
    I’m rereading the beginnings to two novels to decide if either of them is worth going further into. Part of me thinks I should start a third, but, and this is the big but, I don’t know that the storyline really matters all that much at this stage. I’m tempting to pick one, at random say, and get down to business. I was chatting with another dear writer friend and it basically came down to Colm Toibin, Zadie Smith, Cunningham, you know, the regulars. I read them for their writing, for their take on the world. Whether a story is a page turner, or just gads about, I’m reading for the writing.
    So for this moment, I’m focused on the writing, making it better, making the images better than I have before. I’m backing off the story somewhat and just getting some of those million words to be better than the ones before them.
    Which still begs the question…story one, story two, or move on to story three?

    Oh, and that essay you’re working on…man, oh man, I want to read it.

    1. Teri

      It’s funny how we have to work on different things in the writing — the same piece/book, or completely different pieces/books — in order to make it whole, complete, our best work. I always write scenes first, characters talking, then go back and write narrative and connective tissue, then figure out if it’s answering the question I’m trying to answer, then the art, then then then then….

  2. Catherine

    I am deep into short story territory but quite distracted at the moment. Darn I was going so well through winter – even have one piece coming out in an Irish anthology. Right now I’m treading water, waiting, doing the real stuff. Hope to come back with my ideas unfolded.

    I’d also like to read this essay Teri.

      1. Teri Post author

        Hahaha to both you and Indy. You will get those bums back in the chairs. I have no doubt.

        P.S. My husband also gets email notifications about this blog, and he called the minute I posted it: “What came in the mail?!?!” I should have given the poor guy some fair warning.

  3. Averil Dean

    You’re doing exactly what I’ll be doing once the current Fucker is finished. I’m going to write a short story or two and cleanse the palate. I just can’t face down another novel right now.

  4. donnaeve

    Wow – that’s downright creepy. I’ve had some thoughts lately about topics for new manuscripts…but until I FTF (substitute T for “this”) I can’t veer off track. Tunnel vision and all that.

    1. Teri Post author

      The instant I saw the envelope I knew what it was, and of course I was afraid to open it.

      You stay on track! Sometimes that’s what we have to do, stay with it until we really are finished, and other times (like me now) we need a short trip down a dirt road to see what’s there.

  5. Josey

    shitfire!! what a teaser – i so very badly want to read this essay. i’ve got three different things going and then work and today is april one, so there’s a gazillion (and one) april fools news releases i’m covering…which, bleh.

    i need focus. one project at a time. finish, then move on, not start something, then start something else then start another thing…

    1. Teri Post author

      That is exactly my wish for you: the ONE PROJECT. Okay, I can actually think of 3, but let’s do one at a time. 🙂

      And really, when a letter like that arrives in the mail, the story just begs to be written.

  6. Paul Lamb

    My Fathers and Sons stories seem to have gone on walkabout without me. A new story has since presented itself to me, and I’m working on that. And my old, abandoned cozy mystery novels may have had a new life breathed into them. I really want to finish the F&S stories (and try to sell them as a unit), but I’m grateful that something/anything is bubbling creatively right now.

    1. Teri Post author

      And my guess is that veering off the Fathers & Sons path for awhile will give you more fuel for those stories, and the collection. And by the by, cheers to your recent publication!!

  7. joplingirl

    I’m starting an alphabet book called Uncle. Social and personal associations. A is for assassination. After two long form narratives I need the short riffs. I just can’t stand for them not to have accumulative meaning.

    1. Teri Post author

      Now that really is news! Here’s to working on your new project, and writing short for the long haul.

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