Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Which the Writer Returns Home

Yesterday morning I set out for the Mall in Washington DC, planning to walk the whole thing, end up at the Library of Congress or the Folger Shakespeare Library, and sit there soaking up the booky goodness. But then, just past the White House, I got distracted by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which was intriguing not only because workpeople were laying a new coppery roof but because they had an exhibit running called "Sargent and the Sea." I happen to love John Singer Sargent. So I went inside and ended up spending the day looking at paintings and writing in the cafe.

Here's the thing about John Singer Sargent: He did extensive sketches, even full oil paintings at times, in preparation for his larger works. So, you'll see a whole wall full of small paintings of individuals, and then you look at the next wall, and there's a large painting containing all the individuals together in a scene. When I first realized this, I thought to myself, gah, how boring and tedious for him -- he must have been the most patient man alive. But then I remembered that in my own writing, I'll write and rewrite the same scene over and over and over again, trying to get it to the right place, and no, it's not always fun, and yes, sometimes it's aggravating, but it's rarely boring. It's something I want to do, and need to do, and boring doesn't enter into it. Most of the time I'm writing something that is a path to the final product, rather than the final product itself.

Seeing his process was inspiring. May the gods grant me the patience, the uninterrupted time, and the focus I need to get to the place I'm trying to get to with Bitterblue. If you're working on something hard, may the gods grant you all those things, too.

Guess whose bed I'm sleeping in tonight? Before you get any funny ideas, it's my own ^_^. I'm home! And I know I announced recently that all news was going behind my News link, but I hope you'll excuse me for saying that Fire has hit the New York Times bestseller list for the week ending October 10. Graceling has also popped back on the lists. I wish I could thank everyone individually who helped make this happen. THANK YOU. You make me happy and proud!

(Finally, if you're interested in interviews, check out the five questions Roger Sutton asked me in this month's Notes from the Horn Book.)

17 comments:

Charlotte (The Book on the Hill) said...

Welcome home Kristin ! And congrats for the NYT ! I really relate to what you're saying about the process of writing, rewriting and re-rewriting, or in John Singer Sargent's case drawing, redrawing, painting and repainting...! I'm always impressed by the patience artists put into their work, and then I realize that I'm actually doing the same thing as an actress : working on a single scene for hours until it's -almost- like it should be. It's hard but it's mainly fascinating and entrancing. There are times of course when it's tougher, when I'm on the edge of giving up, but I just need to take a minute and think about why I'm doing it, how I love it, and I'm up for it again.

I'm not a god, I'm just a young French girl rambling, but I'm sending you a huge amount of patience and focus from France for Bitterblue anyway ! I'm sure it will be a great book.

A. Grey said...

So congrats on the NYT, congrats on a successful tour, and congrats of getting home in one piece! :D I love John Singer Sargent as well. I feel daffy that I didn't know the Corcoran had an exhibit going on featuring him, considering that I live so close. There is something so free and yet so elegantly metered about Sargent's work. I could never sketch as he did though...

Actually, I have a confession to make in that I originally thought I would be an artist. I got into the Main Colleg of Art in Portland. But after visiting, I realized that all I wanted was to write. The art still calls to me though...

And you're right, even though I could never sketch like Sargent, I do just that with my writing. You'll find the groove with Bitterblue. You might not ever going sailing along like Chevy Chase on his cooking greased sled, but you'll get down the hill in one piece! :)

Jennifer said...

Welcome home and congrats with EVERYTHING you've managed to accomlish!

Debby said...

Kristin, I wish you patience, and many times, I have to remind myself to be patient as well. Good luck!
A. Grey, I have always been drawn to art as well, and I thought I was going to be an artist too! However, I quickly changed my major to English because more than anything, I want to be a writer. But I am still very drawn to art and love visiting museums.

P.S. I particularly loved Fire's musical talents, especially the violin. (I play the violin!!)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I've thought along the same lines as you, that I'd never have the patience (or talent!)for the slow work painting must be. I love, though, re-writing scenes, going through pieces again and again. Maybe this type of patience isn't so different from a painter's work after all.

I love Sargent too. And Winslow Homer.

Loredan Avery said...

Yay, welcome home Kristin. I hope your visit with your family, and especially the twins, was a lot of fun.

I completely understand what you mean when you compared Sargent's studies to your own writing. It's really a love of what you do, isn't it, that motivates you do get up every morning and keep going at it.

Congratulations on the New York Times, that's so cool. I just finished reading Fire, and thought, "whoa. . .!"

Take your time with Bitterblue. I know it will be a masterpiece!

Avery

April said...

Congrats on making the bestseller list with Fire! I loved Graceling so much I wasn't sure that Fire could match it, but it did - I just finished Fire and I loved it! I am sure Bitterblue will be great as well!

Random question (I didn't see it in the FAQ): How do you pronounce your last name? I am always recommending your books to people, but I am not sure I am pronouncing your name correctly!

diceytillerman said...

@April:

Here is a page full of SOUND CLIPS of lots of authors -- including Kristin -- pronouncing their names!

AndrewsMommom said...

Just like Charlotte, I am not a god but consider you and many others who frequent this board mini goddesses/bodhisattvas. So, a Buddhist blessing seemed appropriate:
By the power of every moment of your goodness
May your heart's wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

Glad you're home, safe and sound with wonderful memories of twins and the purposeful joy of creating.

Tiancheng said...

Thank you so much for appearing at Wayland High School today! You gave extensive information on a writer's process and inspired me a great deal. Again, thank you. -Tc

Whitney said...

That sounds like a very difficult trip to make and we the fans are grateful for it. I Love the covers of your books and can't wait to see the next one for Bitterblue I am thinking.....Blue in the cover idk? I was wondering if you have ever read any of Barb and J.C. Hendee's The Noble Dead Saga.
With much appreciation,
whitney

livindncngdream said...

I just finished reading Fire! It was incredible. I won a copy of it on you blog tour from scifiguy and thank you so much for signing it!! Graceling and now Fire are right up there with my favorite books. Congrats on getting NYT! That's so exciting. But I just wanted to let you know how much I admire you and your books. Also I was wondering if you could do me a favor. I am aspiring to be a Editor of children books like your editor Kathy Dawson. I would love to ask her a few questions. So if there is anyway you could put me in contact with her I would greatly appreciate it. If not I completely understand.
Thank you again for such amazing books! You're amazing!!

Cassie H.

Steelefamily said...

Your books are amazing! I read a book every two days or so and was so thrilled to come across one as wonderful as yours. I have told everyone about it (not that your sales need my help) but it is great:)

shorty411 said...

Kristin! I'm glad you returned home safely. I just wanted to say thank you for visiting us in DC. I came to your signing and it was awesome, especially the reading and Congrats on the NYT :)

Kristin

Trisha said...

I also have just finished reading 'Fire'. It was exquisite. It is exquisite. I now want to revisit 'Graceling'. Your characters feel like friends and I look forward to making new ones.

Trish in Australia

kristin cashore said...

Thanks so much for the welcomes home and the good wishes (and blessings!), everyone, and thanks to the people sharing their artistic talents! Artemis, I think that exhibit might be going on a bit longer, if that helps.

I also love Winslow Homer. His grave is near where I live, and last time I visited, someone had left him a seashell, which made me happy :o)

PAuLaa* said...

Hi! I'm Paula, from Barcelona, and I've just finished "Graceling". I loved it!! My favourite characters were Raffin, Skye, Katsa and, of course, Po (I'm sorry if these aren't the English names =S). I cried a little and laughed so much with them (specially Raff). I didn't know if there were going to be other books after Graceling, so I get so happy when I saw Fire's front page. I'm going to wait patiently =).
Could you reply me? I know nothing about this website (sorry, it's my first visit ^^), so I'm going to give you my e-mail account: paulacboldu@hotmail.com
Well, I think that's all I wanted to say. Just... follow writting =D

P.D.: I'm sorry if there are some grammar errors, I don't know so much English!!