Four horses and riders in a heated race
Photo by Pietro Mattia (

Off to the Races!

The pistol fires. The gates drop. The jockeys burst forth upon their mighty steeds! The crowd roars with excitement. This is how I would like to start each year—not literally riding a horse, but greeting the new year with grit, gusto, and gregariousness. Make those the three Gs of 2022.

I shied away from making any solid resolutions this year. My simplest goal is to finish what I started last November. Namely, the first draft of The Colors of Magenta. Here’s the synopsis:

Magenta is a shepherdess, and a darn good one to boot, but keeping track of her younger sister Azalea is no easy task. One rainy day, Magenta’s world is turned upside-down when Azalea gets caught in a helium storm and floats away into the clouds. Magenta takes to the skies in pursuit, little knowing what wonders and perils await her: a castle in the clouds, trees that can walk and talk, a princess with a heart of ice, and a maniacal witch who can steal people’s faces! This is an adventure that will challenge Magenta’s will and test her courage–revealing her true colors by the journey’s end.

Consciously, I would say my inspirations for “Magenta” are L. Frank Baum’s The Marvelous Land of Oz, the account of King Saul and David from 1 Samuel, and a handful of fairy tales mixed in with nursery rhymes. Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away are no doubt factors as well—at least in how I visualize what I’m writing. I do like how those stories unfold contrary to Western conventions.

Some of my story’s emergent themes, such as the concept of home and belonging, have roots in my childhood. I’m not drawing experiences from my life as much as I’m borrowing feelings. Perhaps that distinction is clearer in my mind than on the page. Memories are squirrelly things not easily pinned down.

Taking a month-long writing break has made me wonder if I have what it takes to finish my novel. I go to bed thinking about scenes and dialogue. While I’m showering—which I should honestly do more often—emotional beats unravel. What is it about falling water that puts folks in contemplative moods? It certainly transports my imagination beyond the physical because the physical in this context is skinny, pale, and naked.

All right, that’s it for this “micro blog post.” I’m only forcing myself to write it because this is Monday evening. That means FaceTime with my friend Andrew over at HilWood Post. We have a friendly competition going almost every week. Who will finish his post first?

A-a-and there they go! The racers are off! It looks like Andrew beat me to the punch.

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