I'm working on my novel again. It's been resting at page 230 for a while. I haven't known what to write to continue. I've known where it should be going, but word by word not how to get there. Now, I'm writing again. It's great.
I'll be going to Finland soon to stay for three weeks. I'll stay in an artists retreat, a 5000 square foot villa designed by Alvar Alto, right by the sea. The villa has ocean view over the flat rocks that continue out into the sea. The first two weeks I'll be there alone. Then my love will join my villa life and we will stay there together for another week. No one has ever read the novel yet. Expectedly when he arrives around August 1st, I'll have a first draft of the novel ready for him to read. I imagine how I'll sit breathlessly and watch him read. For a week. Only interrupted by an occasional whisper; What, what? What did you read? What happened? Why did you smile? You did smile, didn't you? What page are you on? Do you want a glass of red wine? Do you like it?
Now this is quite something, and I'm exited about this prospect. This novel has been on its way since I developed its main characters and basic plot in a short story in 2006. My boyfriend has already read the prologue - and been very positive. Had he not been, I'm not sure he should be the first to read the whole thing, and probably, no definitely not, in complete isolation in Finland, the land of weird and crazy shit and dark moods and goth atmospheres and saunas and axes. It is, need I say, a matter of great trust whom you let be your first reader of your first novel.
I have three books out now and a children's book coming in November. But this is my first novel. I've always considered novels the greatest achievement. I don't think they're the hardest to write in comparison to short stories, essays, and poetry, but they've always for me been the most luxurious reading experience, and therefore also stand as the greatest writing challenge. I've published one book of poetry, one book with a mix of poetry, short stories, letters, and lists, and one theory book, originally my master's thesis on Foucault, Pippi Longstocking, and queer theory. My first children's book of a series will come in November, so before this novel will be published, I'll have at least four quite different books out already. Still, this will feel very much like a debut to me, I'm sure.
I had the pleasure of encountering a large number of spider kids in my living room today. I've just recently bought a big rose bush, it's beautiful and though it's an outdoor plant, it still lives fine in my living room. Today I watered it in the big tray, it stands in, and a piece of soil floated around in the water, I just poured in. I watered some other plants, and for some reason went back to check on the piece of soil. And what do you know, the soil had unfolded itself and now had eight legs. And what looked like a big, fat body, by a closer look was a bagpack full of, ahem, a LOT of small spiders. Eggs, I think it's called at that stage, but maybe it's the warmth of the Danish summer these days that instinctively gave me the feeling, that these eggs were more at the point of ready for pre-school or their first warning for being drunk and missing their Friday night curfue.
I got some paper and the roll of card board inside the kitchen towel roll, which was empty when I'd taken the last papers. I went to the tray with the bush standing in the middle. I figured, she might have drowned, but I didn't believe that. She was more floating unconcernedly, like at the beach underneath a carressing sun, looking like she was professionally blocking out the sound of screaming seagulls and excited children with air-filled animals and cuffs, than oh, I just drowned and my hundred babies with me, what a pity! No. She was too relaxed. I got her into a piece of paper with the cardboard, quickly out of the water, folded the paper, mashed her a little inside. Why only a little? you're thinking now, why on earth not with the big hammer straight away? Well, because I was curious and self-confident, so I opened the paper and yes, she was cramping and a zillion baby spiders were out of their mother's boring rucksack, I heard them yell, HEEYYY, look at this, I found the WWWOOOOOOORRRRRLLLLLLDDDD; guys, over here!!! They ran of the paper very fast, and I shut it again, now I mashed mother and everyone else inside of it, oh yes, I DO kill babies in the morning, then I mashed every spider baby on the floor, they were cute but I'd just seen their mother and knew, they all wanted to be like her some day, and she was long passed the state of cute, so there was no mercy, then I threw them in the garbage, took the tray with the bush, wiped it off for spiders, emptied it into the zink to drown the last ten or so, that were swimming desperately in the water, then followed them with some boiling water down the drain and zealed the garbage bag quite thoroughly.
Now, this story is the most fun if you realize, how much aracnhophobia I suffered from as a child. For some years, there were nightmares and neurotic behavior when it came to taking on shoes, taking showers, being in rooms with furniture you couldn't see under, etc. And this morning, I was doing all of this spider fun naked, because when I walk around my own house in the morning, watering my plants, alone, I of course take advantage and do it naked - so here I am, the living evidence of human development. Back then, I couldn't have done what I did today dressed in a space outfit. Now, I just checked that not too many had run up my leg or something.
I must admit though, hadn't I seen her float happily around in the water like that, I don't like to think of what had happened. Fine with me that she's been living in my rose bush. But. She would've made a hundred babies in my living room, and they would've started looking for other plants. I might have found spiders, growing in size, everywhere over the next weeks. That's a creepy thought. Even as a cured arachnophobic, I don't want to live in Spider Zoo or even worse, Spider Village, with such a large population, that they'd start building their City Hall next to the Rose Mall and carve out a subway underneath my floors. I do look around the living room a little more today, and when I see my rose bush, I do itch a little in spontaneous places.