With my new novel done and in the “will anyone publish this thing I adore” limbo phase as my agent reads it, I’m in the creative freefall that happens between major projects.

I do a kind of active space-out: not quite brainstorming, not quite waiting for inspiration. Like trying to dream on purpose, feel out ideas, reject a hundred things, wait for the one that glows.

I start with character, and I have one now, and she’s a she, and I’m feeling her out, getting to know her. And then tonight a world sprang up around her and it all feels good and weird and lushly promising.

Visitors to our house know of the usually large yard table.
 
It’s made of locust and weighs 350 lbs. I used rough-cut wood to give it a certain aesthetic but forgot that rough-cut wood is thicker. So the finished table wound up being three inches taller than expected.
 
You wouldn’t expect three inches to be a big deal, but sitting and eating at the table made everybody feel as if we were dining in an ancient mead hall, waiting for Beowulf to attack. It was awkwardly, uncomfortably tall.
 
But the legs were more complex than ordinary legs and there was no easy way to shorten it. Today I finally flipped it, removed the diagonal supports, lopped three inches off the complex legs’ centers, buddied everything back together with spare locust boards, recut and reattached the diagonal supports, and there it is: all short and normal.

 
The table is now less of an immediate conversation piece and more of a storied, comfortable table.