The pyracantha is especially beautiful this spring, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Here’s a bee, gathering pollen from this prolific early bloomer to take back to feed her friends and ensure the continuation of the hive, at the same time that she helps to ensure that the blossoms will produce those pretty red berries that can ensure that this plant produces plenty of new plants. This photo reminds me that everything in nature, however apparently inconsequential, has an important purpose. And that everything–absolutely everything–is connected to everything else. It’s just one thing after another, end to end, with all that delicious muddle in the middle.
I’ve been thinking about this process these spring days, because I’ve been hearing from readers who wonder if the Darling Dahlias are going to produce another book or whether China is going to be involved in another mystery. It’s a reasonable question, given that (thanks to the internet) you likely know that I celebrated my 83rd birthday at the beginning of this year. You have every right to wonder what’s going to happen to these characters–friends of yours, if you’ve been a reader for a while. You’re wondering if I’ll retire and leave you . . . well, wondering.
So let me tell you what I’ve been telling readers who write to me. There’ll be one book this year, in November: Someone Always Nearby, which I’ve been working on since well before the pandemic. In spring, 2024, I expect to publish another Pecan Springs mystery, this one called Forget Me Never–I’m working on that now and will probably wrap it up by early summer. The Dahlias and I have some ideas for another book in that series, set in 1936-1937. And yes, I’m mindful that Liz’s story is unfinished. I’d like to know what she decides to do every bit as much as you, so I’m encouraging her to get on with it. If she does, look for that book in late 2024.
After that . . . well, I’m thinking that it might be a good time for me to move to a shorter-than-book-length form. Short stories, maybe, like the little collection I wrote years ago. Maybe to a more interactive platform, like Substack, where some of my writer friends are doing some interesting things. I’m curious about the possibilities. There’s plenty to play with and learn and discover.
And now you know as much as I do. I’m at the point in my writing life where I’m comfortable with that. I hope we’re in the same place.
The cross stitch project continues. I took this photo (the project is adapted from Charles Wysocki’s painting “Quilts for Sale”) on the deck and there’s a shadow–and the mark of the hoop I’m using on this section of the work. You can see what it will look like, finished, here, along with other things I’ve done. This is so much easier with Pattern Keeper. I’m a fan!
And finally, those of us who love books continue to be especially concerned about the politically-motivated book banning hysteria that’s infecting our communities. I’ve been writing about it in a series of blog posts called “Libraries and Politics: A Dangerous Mix.” I’ll be following those developments as the courts weigh in. Please keep an eye on this situation in your communities. Our libraries are no longer safe from people who want to limit our ability to choose what we read–and how we think. We can’t let them have the last word.
Reading note. So much for endings. Beginnings are always more fun. True connoisseurs, however, are known to favor the stretch in between, since it’s the hardest to do anything with. That’s about all that can be said for plots, which anyway are just one thing after another, a what and a what and a what.–Margaret Atwood