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new year, mud bird

(c) Brook Andreoli

(c) Brook Andreoli

My friend Brook took the above picture, and she used the “mud bird” scene in REACHED as the inspiration. I’ll keep this quite spoiler-free, but basically it’s a scene where a girl makes a bird out of some materials (one of those materials is mud, and one is glass). It’s a scene about creation and making something out of what you have.

I’m working on a new mud bird right now. Several of them, actually, and boy, are my hands dirty. And I am certainly getting lots of little cuts as I work with what I have and try to repurpose new things. I’m not just talking about writing projects (though I do have some of those!). Creation can be exhilarating. It can also be painful.

At the end of the year, Sara Zarr, an author I admire tremendously both personally and professionally, interviewed me on her THIS CREATIVE LIFE podcast. You can find links and more info about the interview here at Sara’s blog. Sara is very thoughtful about her writing, her religion, and her living, and it was a privilege to be interviewed by her. I think our conversation (and having read her blog/listened to her podcasts throughout the year) put me in an especially reflective frame of mind as I contemplated my creative life, and my life in general, at the end of 2012.

2012 saw the conclusion of the MATCHED trilogy, a set of three mud birds I’d been working on for four years. It was a project whose scope and heft sometimes felt tremendous and weighty and sometimes felt giddy and free. I think most creative projects–for me, at least–have moments of utter soaring and ease and other times where you just need to sit down and get the work done. I’ve written enough books (8) that I know this is part of my process. 2012 also saw the arrival of our daughter (oh, we are so glad to have her!). And, of course, our family (like people everywhere!) continued to deal with new and ongoing challenges and blessings.

So. In 2013 there are some other things I need to create too, in addition to birds of the book variety. Some are too personal/abstract to share on a public site, but much of it has to do with helping my little family fly.

What mud birds are you making in 2013?

+ comments (3)
  • Alice
    January 8, 2013

    Are you making the birds out of real mud or clay? I’m revising my novels, sending them to agents and writing a new one this year.

  • Rachel Fike
    January 10, 2013

    My mud birds are revising an old novel and writing a new one. I’m not sure if this counts, but I’ll also be creating many papers for classes. Not a very fun creative prospect 🙂

    I read your entire series over the break and loved it! I keep thinking about the characters and themes. …edited for spoiler…

  • Olivia Carter
    January 11, 2013

    So fabulous! Brook actually gave me a small clay tourquise “mud bird” inspired by you for my desk. It’s a fantastic concept & perfect for all people who are creating. No matter what it is!

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