The New Book: Magdalene Aubergine

Coming Soon…

We barely broke eighty degrees here today. There are still some ninety-degree temperatures predicted into the middle of the month, but today Summer officially began to fade. It was windy the first part of the day, settling into a nice breeze this evening. The night air is noticeably cooler, Autumn is set to arrive.ย  I’ve had a slight fever off and on for two days. I am ready for the cooler weather. I am ready for the Fall season.

I hadn’t planned on producing another book this year. When we returned from the mountains (post about that irrevocably deleted and gone forever, I’ll probably repost some pictures on my Imagery and Poetry page) I jumped back into work on the western that I’d finished the first draft of in 2012. I’ve looked at the manuscript of the western with “new eyes” many times, however, this time I noticed some recurring themes and I admit, I lost the heart for it. Perhaps I’ll save it for some other time, perhaps I’ll never publish it. I don’t know, but I wasn’t feeling it. I kept finding all these bits I wrote and forgot about or had lost track of. There are always books and book ideas that don’t quite come to fruition. I’ve a manuscript from 2009 that has some great pieces in it, but as a complete book it isn’t publishable. I found another manuscript of poems I started I don’t know when that turned out to be a file I was apparently just shoving finished poems into for a time. I thought I’d collected up pretty much everything recent when I was putting “Thelxiepeia” together, which was also a book that developed from other books that weren’t to be, but apparently, I hadn’t.

There was this line I’d written “the words seemed powerful” and I realized I’d no idea if I’d kept a copy of the essay that contained it. In searching for that I found a treasure trove of things I’d written that I’d put away because they were written during a particularly intense time for me emotionally, stuff I hadn’t looked at in a several years in some cases. I started to read. I started having those moments of, “This is good. Oh my God, this is good.” So, I started looking for other pieces that I’d missed or had decided not to use for “Thelxiepeia.” I realized I’d fallen into some pretty harsh self-judgment with regard to some of my work. There’s no room for self-judgment about the work, the writing, if you’re going to keep doing the work. I’ve fallen into that trap once before. I was reading these pieces thinking, “This is beautiful. This is so good. Why was I hiding this from myself?” Sometimes we’re too close to whatever it is we’ve written.

“Magdalene Aubergine” is a name, a title, that’s been very present with me for a while. Aubergine is a color, the color of an aubergine, or, eggplant. Magdalene is in somewhat obvious reference to Mary Magdalene. I’d written several pieces with Mary Magdalene as muse, for a book I got sidetracked from. I think Mary Magdalene was the first apostle. I think I felt very in touch with that as an idea when I was writing many of these pieces, with so many of the things that being a woman brings with it, with being devoted to love, with loving, with aging-maturing-coming into one’s own, with having struggled and fought and survived, with vanity, and other known and named sins. This book just sort of fell in my lap over the course of the last few days, and I am incredibly grateful for that. Not only did I not plan on putting out another book this year, but I also didn’t know when I’d ever get around to another book. I wasn’t feeling it. I thought, “Well, maybe I lost it. Maybe four decades into this writing thing, that’s it.” And if that were the case, well… But, I decided not to worry about it and to trust that I know that I am a writer, and let it be, and let it come. I’ve written several new pieces since then. I’ve learned more lessons about myself as a writer, about my own processes, and that’s a good thing.

I’m working on the index for this book, editing and polishing. Seeing as how it’s the beginning of September, I would guess I’ll probably have this one out the door before the end of the year. “Magdalene Aubergine”, I like the sound of it.

Teri Skultety