Okay, so honestly it doesn’t even need to be grape stomping, although that’s a ton of fun. It can be grape picking, pressing, de-stemming, racking. And of course, tasting. The exact activity makes no difference to me—I just long to be involved in the fruit of the vine once more!
And not just because I love wine (which of course, I do!). But in this case my desire has much more to do with what that symbolizes to me.
Which is in a nutshell, my new novel. Ah, fiction. True manna from the gods for me. And this book, set in a Texas vineyard and winery, has had its grip on me for a long time. It’s the one I had to put down to tend my parents, and then all the legalities surrounding them. When I finally got back to it, I found it fundamentally changed.
That’s the thing about writing fiction: Stories transform as you do. And of course the real-life sorrows only deepen and enrich one’s prose and characters and all things fiction.
So when I finally did get back to the book, it took me down side roads I never would have imagined. And brought in characters who shocked me by their very presence. Love when that happens!
I’d been writing on it steadily for quite a while, when I took that pause to have puppies. Okay, so Siren had puppies! I had an editor once really ream me for saying that, but in truth, I feel as though I have them as much as my girls do J It’s a joint venture!
But babies are all gone to their new homes now, except the yellow girl I kept, Murphey. She’s settling well into the family (asleep at my feet as I write this. Thank God! Always let sleeping puppies lie. You can actually get something done!).
And now the novel is speaking to me again. Softly, in whispers. I’d chunked about half of it when I got back to it, and have written almost to the end. Really, at the end. But I know how it does finish. Which shocked me as well! While often I have a vague sense of how a book ends, well, Ms. Ruth did something even I couldn’t have foreseen.
Now I’m also gobbling up all things wine again. Planning a trip back out to Red Caboose Winery to pick grapes as well as the McKibben’s brilliant minds while I’m there. Love what those guys do, and what they produce. If you haven’t tried their marvelous vintages, really—you should! Highly recommend!
Texas viticulture has just grown by leaps and bounds, its wines now garnering country-wide awards and beautiful reviews. Lucky for me, since my fictional vineyard is set here. Equally as lucky that so much more research needs to be done! Tough job but I’m up to it J
So the summer spreads before me with the promise of bountiful grapes not-bursting but glistening in the early pristine sunlight, begging to be picked by eager hands, and the taste of berries and pepper, citrus and oak popping on the tongue.
And all of course in the service of fiction.
Man, do I have a tough job or what?
How will you spend your summer?