Writing the New Novel

This morning while working on the new novel I remembered a music class I took in college. Part of our final exam was to keep 6 beats going at the same time using different parts of our body, for example, whole note beat with right foot / half note beat with left foot / quarter note with right hand / eighth note with left hand, etc.

6 beats at the same time. For an entire minute.

It was f’in hard, but weirdly centering, too. I remember sitting outside the student union on the stone bridge in Bloomington, Indiana, practicing and practicing.

Left hand, right hand, left foot, right foot, head, mouth. Keep it all going. At the same time.

I was studying poetry then with Lynda Hull and Yusef Komunyakaa so all this rhythm and all these beats blended with the poetry I was writing and reading and made this crazy kind of sense. Eventually. After many hours. After many days.

And I realized this morning that writing this novel, which takes place in Shanghai and is pulling me places I didn’t know I was going to go and is demanding multiple rhythms and beats…maybe even more than 6, is so much like that experience. I’m out there again, on the stone bridge outside the student union in my beloved Bloomington, with my eyes closed and one hand tapping 8th notes and my head nodding 16th notes and my mouth creating some syncopated rhythm that sounds crazy right now but will, fingers crossed, eventually make sense and be beautiful and express this blossoming story.

And then I’m so grateful for those class dinners at Lynda Hull’s house when she slowly pulled me out of my insane shyness and helped me believe in me. And that day when I heard of her death, which shattered me. Still shatters me. One of those voices I can still hear—will always hear—when I close my eyes.

So on I go with this novel. Informed by all this.

Tap, tap, tap. Tappity, tap-tap.

Tap.

Another Marvelous Book Club Discussion About THE ART OF FLOATING

Earlier this week, I had a terrific discussion about THE ART OF FLOATING with another marvelous book club! The host, Maria, put together a delicious spread (beach themed, of course)! And offered a perfect wine for the occasion (Plum Island wine, to honor the setting of THE ART OF FLOATING).

Since most of the book clubs I’ve met with have been made up of women, it was fun and informative to have a couple of men in this conversation. All in the book club were smart, thoughtful readers with great senses of humor. Thanks for hosting me!

Maria Dankens Book Club_5

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Authors Fair at Haverhill (Massachusetts) Public Library: Sat, August 16, 1-3pm: I’ll Be There

Near Haverhill, Massachusetts? If so, come on out this coming Saturday, August 16, from 1:00-3:00 for the Authors Fair! I’ll be there with THE ART OF FLOATING, along with many wonderful authors. Great fun ahead!

FLOATING in the Haverhill Library

 

 

Awesome Readers, A Boxer, and Sold Out at B&N in Salem, NH

Yesterday I did a “meet & greet” at Barnes & Noble in Salem, NH. The setup?

Me. A small table with a lot of copies of THE ART OF FLOATING at the entrance to the store. Goal? Talk to folks & sell those books!

And so…

At 2:00 pm, this:

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At 3:45 pm, this:

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Huzzah! So much fun there. Awesome customers/readers, great staff and managers, and so many wonderful books! Big thanks to all!

 

 

Gorgeous Review of THE ART OF FLOATING at New Hampshire Writers’ Network

Bubble_Morgue File FreeI loved giving away two audio editions of THE ART OF FLOATING last week! Lots of fun! Thanks to all for playing!

Last weekend, over at the blog for the New Hampshire Writers’ Network, Jamie Wallace wrote a shining review of THE ART OF FLOATING that has my heart singing. Here she is, talking about FLOATING. (There’s lots more…just click here to read the entire review.)

“It has been a while since a book swept me off my feet.I had forgotten what it feels like to get so lost in a book that time slips away and chores go undone. It’s a lovely feeling. Secret. Intimate. Delicious. The temptation and the anticipation. The savoring and the rationing – how many chapters left? How many pages? I can’t wait to read the next bit, but I don’t want the affair to be over.

“I bought the book on Sunday afternoon and our whirlwind tryst was over by Tuesday night. Four hundred some odd pages devoured in a matter of hours. The story drunk down in stolen sips and unabashed gulps, leaving me intoxicated. For the two weekdays that I was entangled in the book, it was difficult to concentrate on any task – domestic or professional. I sat at the desk in my home office, feigning focus on the screen but really just counting down the minutes until I could find an excuse to sidle up to the dining room table – only a few feet away – and read just one, quick chapter. . . .”

Huzzah!

 

Giveaway! Win the Audiobook Edition of THE ART OF FLOATING!

THE ART OF FLOATING_AudioGuess what, folks? June is Audiobook Month!

Time to celebrate! And to do so, I’m going to give away two—yes, two—audio editions of  THE ART OF FLOATING! (Yep, unabridged.)

One.

Two.

Before I tell you how to enter the contest, I have a confession to make.

Ready?

I have never listened to an audiobook. (Well, except for the fantabulous Skippyjon Jones series with my six-year-old. Skippyjon is hilarious!) But in honor of Audiobook Month, I’m going to take the opportunity to change this; I’ll be listening to an audiobook. (Suggestions?!)

Want to enter the giveaway? Here’s how:

TELL ME YOUR FAVORITE SOUND IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!

(examples: your kiddo’s voice, a cow mooing, teapot whistling, the recycling guy in Shanghai calling out for electronics, etc.)

  1. leave your favorite sound as a comment right here on this blog entry

  2. tweet me about your favorite sound on Twitter (I’m @kbairokeeffe.)

  3. leave your favorite sound as a comment on my Facebook author page (Just click here.)

 

The giveaway will run from today (June 3) through midnight (EST) Friday, June 6, 2014.

Rules:

  • This giveaway is international.
  • I’ll notify the winner via email or Tweet. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Please check your SPAM folder!
  • I’m not responsible for lost packages.

 

 

Plovers & Picnics at Awesome Book Club Gathering (aka Book Clubs Rock!)

So…I had an absolutely amazing discussion about The Art of Floating with a book club last Friday night. These women are serious…about books, reading, food, friendship, laughter & fun.

This book club has been meeting for years and years. The women read passionately and voraciously. They’re close friends who laugh and have a deep history that revolves around books, but includes so much more. At each meeting—for each book—they cook up a meal that matches the theme of the book in some way. (Last night’s was, appropriately, beachy food—chicken salad, mozzarella & tomato kebabs, wraps, coleslaw & more.)

The woman who hosted last night went all out. She made piping plovers (wee shore birds that figure prominently in The Art of Floating) from the pages of Homer’s The Odyssey (which also figures prominently).

I repeat: She made piping plovers from The Odyssey. See?

Plovers1 - Version 2

I was floored. I’m still floored. In addition, she printed out quotes I use in the book (those from the sign outside the Unitarian Church) and hung them around the room.

A few more fun pics for you!

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Message of the Day: Book clubs rock!