Before I turn my attention to sewing today or working on my Sugar & Pith website as I did all day yesterday, I want to do a little exercise for book 2 of Cricket and Grey. No one need stick around for this. I want to focus my attention on what themes dominate book 2, what the feeling of it needs to be, and words that encapsulate those things. A stream of consciousness activity to focus my energy back into the book. Feel free to adios yourselves if this is not something you want to read.
The theme of book 1 was death and sleeping dogs. It was about maturation, stripping away of old selves and old lives and old lies to reveal truth and through truth, deaths that make way for new life. Winter. This is what winter is.
The theme of book 2 is hunger. Scarcity, desperation, PTSD. Planting seeds for the future, making blueprints with which to build something new from the bones of the dead. Reorganizing family roles. Exploring purpose, leadership, and vision.
When we’re connected with the seasons through nature we find out that spring is the hungriest season. Most people think winter is the lean time because it’s cold and nothing is growing but the truth is that what we harvest in the fall usually sees us through the winter but by the time spring comes along the stores are low and most food is still just in seed and seedling form. Spring is a strange paradox between desperation and hope. In early spring the sap of plants begins to flow allowing new leaves to bud and seeds to rise through soil to the light, signs of life and renewal humans find hopeful and happy. At the same time, many beings are weak with hunger and more vulnerable to disease. Disease is more prominent with a combination of moisture and warmth, spring weather, depending on where you live.
Cricket and Grey have gone through hell and torture during the winter and in early spring are still recovering from the damage to their bodies. They have each other but what the future holds after all the changes and deaths the winter brought is unclear. They don’t know the way forward and before they have a chance to explore it a stranger arrives in their life that causes deep waves in more than just their own lives. Waves that reach out to other families and the community at large. While struggling with PTSD and the monotony of dried fish soup they are propelled forward mercilessly by other people’s needs. Cricket makes a rash decision that separates her from Grey, Julie, and Matt. In a much harsher environment from which there is only a 50% chance she’ll survive, she begins to see her path forward, her greater purpose.
As a side note, I don’t believe that one needs a “higher purpose” to make life meaningful so it’s curious to be giving a higher purpose to my main character.
Cricket has always been an able follower of the discipline her parents imposed on her, a capable soldier who doesn’t question her leaders. In book one she experiences a devastating disillusionment and realizes she’s believed her parents, not questioned them, and finds they’ve lied to her. She realizes how sheltered she’s been from having to be truly independent. It’s actually in her nature to be independent but she’s leaned heavily on her parents as guides. In book two others start seeing her as the natural leader she is but it takes her time to see it for herself. She inspires people to action but learning to do it with purpose is the growth she experiences in book 2.
The atmosphere of “Spring” shifts subtly between light and dark. Bright green and streaks of warming sun shimmer through days of cold rain. There is a feeling of oppressive anxiety shot through with points of hope and action.
To pinpoint the actual atmosphere I’ll need to do a free-write on its own with the proper soundtrack.