Each time I finish writing a book, I look up, wondering why the sound of battle has yet to fade. Why I haven’t transcended, why my brain doesn’t suddenly feel fat with wisdom, why I haven’t sprouted myself a lovely pair of goat horns that spew story like Loki shoves out baby Sleipnirs. Actually, that’s exactly what my process is like, already–minus the horns and the eight-legged horses.
But I really would like a pair of goat horns. How useful they’d be, for ramming into things when I’m lacking catharsis even after writing THE END on the last page (which , by the way, is something I never do. Nothing’s ever done.).
I don’t have goat horns, though. (Cavan has a giant cow’s horn, but there’s only the one, and it’s not growing out of my skull–how useless.) So instead of smashing things, I go out and buy myself a book. It’s helpful to remind myself I’m not alone in this bloody cycle. More importantly, it’s good to know that some people make the rounds with gore-stained swords and oily guns–I might not be to that point yet myself (I’m still using my canines and ragged nails), but it’s good to see that advanced weaponry exists.
There’s another reason I buy myself a book after I’ve finished writing one, though. The real reason. I buy these books to forget; somehow plunging headfirst into the toothy baby some wretched author birthed makes me forget that the baby (the, uh, process–the writing) exists in the first place. I mean, hel. After I finished The Dream Tree, I bought myself A Dance with Dragons. Problematic, but entertaining.
A week ago, I finished another book (it has a name: FABLE). This time, I’m choosing to climb inside the baby’s mouth. I will stay awake to the cycle of teeth, but I’ll do it from the comfort of a well-cushioned baby’s-tongue. (What have I DONE to this analogy?) Which begs the question, of course–just what sweet, hungry book have I chosen this time ’round?
Since you’ve kept on reading past the bit about the baby’s tongue, I’ll reward you with an answer:
At the Mouth of the River of Bees, by Kij Johnson.
When I’ve finished reading it, I’ll let you know if I feel gnawed, replete, or just slimy with milkblood baby spit.