Book Talk: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett


I finished Terry Pratchett’s I Shall Wear Midnight last week, and it was the perfect salve to a week of terrible news and family crisis. Pratchett is always the right move when you’re facing difficult times and need to feel like the world isn’t entirely, completely against you. And I got around to another #ReadtoDraw illustration (above) as a result.

I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in the five-book Tiffany Aching Adventures series, and is one of his Discworld books. But, as is the case with Discworld books, each book stands on its own. The others are referenced here and there, but they aren’t required reading to get what’s happening.

I’m going to read the last book, The Shephard’s Crown, next because it’s the last book Pratchett ever wrote. Predicting that my heart will break, I can then go back to the beginning and read the book I missed–The Wee Free Men. Somehow, I think that will soften the blow and make the final book seem less … final. That’s the strategy.

Here’s the Goodreads blurb, in case you’re interested in reading it (you really should):

It starts with whispers.

Then someone picks up a stone.

Finally, the fires begin.

When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . .

Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren’t sparkly, aren’t fun, don’t involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.

But someone or something is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.

Chilling drama combines with laugh-out-loud humor and searing insight as beloved and bestselling author Terry Pratchett tells the high-stakes story of a young witch who stands in the gap between good and evil.


Writing Moods: The Seasonal Edition

It’s a long time since I wrote by mood. Before I took this thing seriously, I’d limit my writing time to those moments when euphoria and a thirst for fantasy caught me up, or when I needed escape from deep despair or some disappointment. Now I know better and write whether or not I’m feeling it.

But still there are times when happy circumstance sends me running to pen and paper. Seasonally speaking, fall always does it for me. This past Tuesday was the first where Los Angeles deigned to dress in shades of blue and gray and gift us with a taste of the chill. When I walked into my apartment all steeped in blue light at 6:00 p.m., I only wanted a cup of tea, my beaten, ruled notebook, and one of my reliable hotel pens.

It has to do with staying home because it’s cold out and with becoming immoveable under a layer of building winter blubber I’m sure. But it’s also the implacable crackle of the colder seasons–the strange energy of cold, dry wind; the smolder and romance of wood smoke in the air. You don’t often get that in Southern California, much less the city, but when it comes, it does captivate and compel.

Sometimes I wonder if I’d be a better writer had I listened to fourteen year-old me who read Witch Water with zeal and thought a quaint, somewhat spooky life in the woods picking blackberries for tiny Mabon pies and doing funny things with dried roots sounded about right. Would I constantly be touched by inspiration then?

What is it about black crows huddled against a gray sky and crisp, brassy leaves? And there is something to playing piping hot coffee against a foggy, drizzly morning that calls up other worlds and imagined strangers.

As the cold drives me into my home, it also drives me inward and rather than setting up distraction, the world outside toys with my imagination. I’ve always found fantasy in the wildness of an autumn wind. It sweeps by, disrupting everything and carrying it away. I get caught up in it. Maybe autumn is the seasonal manifestation of escapism.