So I have… not exactly a superstition, but a thing I do when I write a novel. I find myself a talisman. This could be anything that has some sort of meaning in terms of the story. For example, when I wrote “White Rabbit” I found a coin from the reign of Charles II. (For anyone who doesn’t know, one of the characters was supposed to be Old Rowley.) For “Rough Trade” I found a pair of gnome salt and pepper shakers. For “Suffer the Little Children” Glinda and Jim gave me a beautiful print of Victorian London that I need to put on my wall. I have a lot of little things that make me feel physically connected to my novels.
Like I said, it isn’t exactly a superstition, but the last one I wrote and submitted, Son and Heir, got rejected this week. Apart from being kind of bummed about that, I also realized that I’d never found a talisman for it. I even mentioned it to Glinda. I was certain that I’d find one before I finished the story but I never did. And look what happened!
No, I don’t seriously believe that this is the reason it was rejected. I’m not insane or stupid. But what I do know is this: I’ll feel better about the story, and about sending it out again, once I have my talisman, my touchstone. I’d been looking for something related to Vienna or “The Third Man” because that’s a theme that runs through the novel. But tonight I suddenly realized that what I really wanted was a Celtic knot ring. There’s a wedding in the book, and one of the characters is Irish. A Celtic knot wedding ring would be the perfect talisman. So I went online and found a reasonably priced one, and I’ve ordered it. I think now I can feel good about the story again. I’ll have a focus
Yeah, it’s probably silly, but it’s my thing, it’s how I like to work, it’s my way of connecting to the story in a physical way. One thing I do know: I’ll never finish another novel before I have my talisman for it. And in the end, I’ll have an interesting and eccentric collection of objects that have deep meaning to me.
It’s all good.