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2014 reading

1. Scardown- Elizabeth Bear
2. The Talisman- Walter Scott
3. A Coalition of Lions- Elizabeth E. Wein
4. The Sunbird- Elizabeth E. Wein
5. Spring in Geneva- Sylvia Kelso
6. The Quiet Gentleman- Georgette Heyer
7. The Alphabet Stones- Ursula Pflug
8. Seaward- Susan Cooper
9. Return to Night- Mary Renault
10. Hild- Nicola Griffith
11. The Misanthrope- Moliere
12. Where It Began- Ann Redisch Stampler
13. Fiesco- Friedrich Schiller
14. We Were Liars- E. Lockhart
15. Range of Ghosts- Elizabeth Bear
16. Passion and Politics - Friedrich Schiller
17. The Forbidden Bestsellers of Pre-Revolutionary France- Robert Darnton
18. La Princesse de Cleves- Mme de Lafayette
19. Mistress of the Revolution- Catherine Delors
20. La Princesse de Montpensier- Mme de Lafayette
21. The Oxford History of the French Revolution- William Doyle
22. Violetta, Il mio diario- I miei segreti, i miei sogni- Silvia Gianatti
23. Fratelli d’Italia: pagine politiche- Goffredo Mameli, edited by David Bidussa
24. Le Petit Prince- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
25. Candide- Voltaire
26. Ourika- Claire de Duras
27. Don Carlos- Thomas Otway
28. Philippe II- Marie-Joseph Chenier
29. Robespierre: A Revolutionary Life- Peter McPhee
30. Northanger Abbey- Jane Austen
31. The Mill on the Floss- George Eliot
32. Dom Carlos- Cesar Vichard de St Real
33. Moderato Cantabile- Marguerite Duras

Plus 32 books I can't talk about (for anonymous reviews and such), bringing the total to 65 books read last year.


State of the writing

I finished Thorns, my first novel in five years (wow, let's not have that long of a gap again), and am now moving back to work on Lucretia, of which I have a good 11.5k and some other scenes out of order.

I have an epigraph for Lucretia:
"We’re more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can’t give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They’re all blood, you see."
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

So my projects for the rest of the year are a) get Thorns in shape for submission to agents, and b) solve my second-quarter-of-the-book plot problems for Lucretia so I can start making progress on it again.

beta readers wanted

Anyone interested in beta-reading a 40k YA fantasy novel? I would really appreciate it. Comment here or message me if interested.


The Comet (ottava rima)

I have been following a falling star,
Observing how it cuts into the night
And as it falls, it leaves a burning scar.
We two together, doomed but bright,
Flew close to the sun, for too far
From danger, we would blaze no light.
Why share the ending of our story?
For a while we shed a trail of glory.


Half a Duet

I would you sang. You have too oft of late
Lain silent, like keys that know no touch,
Though you are the virtuoso you await.
I would you recognized yourself as such.

Still you are mute. I have no counterpoint.
I play denatured music without you.
I press on but the sound is out of joint.
Nothing I say alone can I say true.

You do not laugh. Nor do you ever cry.
You make yourself an absence; am I right
In thinking you would teach yourself to die
If without noise you could escape your plight?

And you say naught. If you have lost your voice,
I’ll join you where you are— silent by choice.


An Apology, for Ignoring the Birdsong

I cannot make you hear the linnet sing
(Nor indeed tell you that it has a cry).
I’ve read in books of such a thing as spring
But never cast my eyes up to its sky.

I cannot relate the whispers of the breeze
While whistling past, obstructed and yet free.
I’m told the wind has murmurs such as these,
But if it does, it shares them not with me.

They tell me that to write, I must observe.
To ignore the world around me is a sin.
Details culled second-hand will never serve,
Nor can I find all that I need within.

I wait and watch and never have replied--
The nature I examine lies inside.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


Despair (sonnet)

If only the well of feeling emptied out,
And left us parched, like summer without rain,
And in that thirst we found relief from pain,
And learned to bless the unrelenting drought.

If only these never-ceasing thoughts would cease,
These bearers of confusion, hooks that tighten,
Piercing my brain, never to enlighten,
Only to rend my few moments of ease.

And if humanity had never risen
Had ne’er surpassed four-legged beasts in thought
I fail to see the loss; what did we gain
In trading our mute state for the mind’s prison?
Did we lose then the peace I long have sought,
For want of which I have become insane?


Commitment (villanelle)

I am afraid that I will walk away.
I do not know if I can play this part.
I think I could be happy if I stay.

None of your just fears can I defray.
I never seem to finish what I start.
I am afraid that I will walk away.

Of course I do not want to go astray.
I can’t stand the idea of being apart.
I think I could be happy if I stay.

What if our love should soften and decay
Grow putrid till the rot can reach the heart?
I am afraid that I will walk away.

But more afraid of what I will not say
Except in whispers marred by stop and start:
I think I could be happy if I stay.

Do not give me the chance to you betray.
For one day while you sleep, I may depart.
I am afraid that I will walk away.
I think I could be happy if I stay.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


Little Ways (rondeau)

In little ways I came to fall from grace.
I noticed something lacking in your face.
I began to drift away when you would speak,
And to descend from our love’s lofty peak,
Not realizing that I had left that place.

Off and away, to win the race,
At first we with the best kept pace.
But our boat sank. We let it leak
In little ways.

I could with you each step retrace,
Find when indifference did replace
Rapture, when ardor grew weak.
It would not return me what I seek,
What bound us from our first embrace,
In little ways.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


Bad Boy Blues (a rondeau)

Go to hell. I’m done with you
And everything you ever claimed was true,
That we had something really cool,
When really you just saw me as a tool,
When really I was just an easy screw.

Wrecked hearts and promises forgotten strew
Your path, and yet I thought alone I knew
Your heart; I am a fool.
Go to hell.

Yet if one day out of the blue,
You came to me, began anew,
For you I’d break my every rule,
And on that fire throw more fuel.
I’d follow my heart’s path askew,
And go to hell.

Maya Chhabra, August 2014


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