The blog has been radio silent because I went on vacation. As in, I peeled myself away from the computer, left the manuscript print-out I’ve been slaving over lying prone on the ottoman with slightly curling corners, and got the hell out of Dodge.
It was a while ago when my Significant Other said, “Whoa, Kiersi, you need to take a day off.”
And I was all, “Sure, I’ll take tomorrow off.” And then it would sort of half-happen. There were deadlines to meet, manuscripts to revise, new ideas and concepts to lay out in Scrivener. Too many things to do to take a day off.
I didn’t even realize it, but it was fraying me like the rope between a water buffalo and a tree. Each day got less and less productive, so I spent more and more time to make up for it, and that only made it worse.
So when scheduled vacation time arrived (and by vacation I mean taking care of my elderly relatives and occasionally getting a moment away to jog down to the beach, not to complain or anything, but really) I left it all behind. I brought along a book and my Game Boy and tried not to touch my computer unless it was absolutely meteorite-to-Earth necessary.
Sometimes it’s not until you heed some well-deserved and earnestly-prescribed advice that you realize what you were missing. I opened my laptop the morning after getting back from the trip and suddenly it was all there again.
I had this incredible clarity of purpose, this absolute focus that I’d forgotten was possible, scratching to-do items off my list like a woman with checkmarks for fingers. And yes, the lesson has been learned:
Sometimes you just need to take a damn vacation.
So I read this incredible book, and I’m sure you’ve heard of it, and you’ve probably already read it, but if you haven’t, I want SO BADLY to tell you about it.
This book is called The Night Circus. This book is by some brilliant woman who apparently goes by the name Erin Morgenstern. And if I were to hedge a bet, I would hedge that Erin Morgenstern is a genius.
Here it is:
I used this zoomed-in version of the cover so you can get a good, clear picture of the clock. Why? Because the clock is this book. It’s a complex series of parts, all moving together, intricately-woven, to create a masterwork. Really, Morgenstern stitched together a cosmic display of cinematic delight, of sight and sound and smell and old-fashioned feels.
So, yeah. This book is about a circus. It’s about a circus that only opens at night, about a circus that is the venue for something much greater, much larger than just a circus. There are two competitors in the game, and they are both strangely-carved people, both the proteges of fabulous old magicians who have completely lost touch with the world. And there’s other stuff: there’s gardens made of ice, and bottles filled with incense that make you relive lost moments in time, and many other marvelous illusions.
But what got me about The Night Circus was the style. It’s like the unicorn of the third-person narrative, the zenith of a structure that so few authors can conquer with such aplomb. We rarely get to see inside any of the characters and yet, the choice of third-person omniscient was perfect for this story. This book contains many characters, but the reader is never confused; it shifts between time and space and perspective, and yet it never flusters; and that’s really the only way I can explain it.
What’s really fabulous is hearing the click when each of Morgenstern’s pieces start to snap into place. A picture forms in front of you and you gasp and say, “Of course!”
That is my favorite feeling. That is why I loved this book and you should go out and read it right now if you haven’t already.
Oh, and, vacation.