After Prophecy of Days sold last year, I started a new manuscript—a twist on a ghost story that involves a teen girl, her triplet brothers, and a Buddhist monastery. It's one of those ideas that came fully formed, and I'm not sure from where. I took a few classes at a Buddhist monastery in Seattle, but that was over a decade ago and I haven't set foot in one since.
Meanwhile, in my other life, I started a new job. When I applied for the position the company was in another building, and since accepting the job on July 1 and starting on August 12, the company moved to a great new space in Ashland. When I showed up the first day, I discovered that my desk looks directly at this:
Intrigued by the strange design, I went over at lunch to investigate what this oddly constructed building will be. I’d love to say I was blasé when I found it was the first newly built urban Tibetan Buddhist center in the United Sates, but I am wired to find synchronicity. Here’s a photo of what the finished construction will look like from the back, what I will see from my office:
Every day when I come to work I park not 20 feet from this jobsite. The eight or nine hours I’m at my desk I look directly at the construction. There are all sorts of cheesy metaphors that I could make between constructing a building and building a novel, or concepts I could apply to the writing process, like patience and attention to detail. But mostly I just like to watch this thing being built, piece by piece, day by day. In a strange way it has made me relax into the process of selling a book. And it’s given me a new, longer timeline—I like to believe that this manuscript will come to fruition at the same time construction finishes and the Tibetan Lamas move in. If I had to guess based on its current state vis a vis finished architectural drawings, I’d say it might be a while. But really, who can tell with these things?