Jane Roper

Writer. Blogger. Hater of Olives.

Of Novels, Monks, and Fetal Kangaroos

(Fig. 1) Anna Solomon

For the past three-and-a-half (my God, has it been that long?) years, I’ve been working on a novel.  It’s about things like class dynamics and gentrification and motherhood and addiction and, oh yeah, childhood cancer. I’ve mentioned this all here before, but sort of in a muttering-under-my-breath-and-adding-a-fake-cough kind of way, because let’s face it: It may end up sucking, and even if it doesn’t, it might still never get published, because that’s the way things go.

I hate that it’s taking me so long to finish the damned thing — I’ve still got a goodly way to go — but, you know. Almost full-time job. Kids. Etc. But that’s an awfully dull excuse. So instead, imagine me like some kind of reclusive genius, a la Emily Dickinson or J.D. Salinger, toiling away in some spare room or hidden country house. Or maybe up in a tower somewhere, like a 12th century monk. Undertaking an act of faith, tedious but rewarding, often involving wine and prayer. Actually, this pretty much nails the process of writing a book without a contract. (Fig 2.)

Meanwhile, I’ve done no readings, no public writing-related appearances. There’s been precious little Being a Professional Author (whatever that means) since around 2012. Just glorifying the glory of the muse. Or something. UNTIL NOW!

(Fig. 2) Me

I am about to come out of my cloistered writerly existence. On Tuesday, July 11 at 7:30 pm, I’ll be joining my good friend Anna Solomon for a reading at the Melrose Public Library (which I love, and where my kids are on a first name basis with the children’s library staff). Anna’s wonderful, most recent novel, Leaving Lucy Pear, was just released in paperback, and she’ll be reading from that, you lucky people.

I’ll be reading from my novel-in-progress, which is called Bruised  (until such time as some publisher — if I should be so lucky — decides to change it to something more marketable, probably with the word “girl” in it). This is scary as all get-out, exposing a fragment of an unfinished novel, like some kind of pink, wrinkly little fetal kangaroo . (Fig. 3) I’m very nervous about it. I will add a thousand disclaimers, both here and at the reading, about how flawed and unpolished and not-quite-fully-baked it is.

(Fig. 3) My novel-in-progress

Still. I confess I’m kind of excited to descend from my tower for at least an evening, fist bump Anna, and bravely expose the fetal kangaroo for a few moments before stuffing it back into my pouch, then going back up into my tower and picking up my stylus once again —  the world’s first and only marsupial medieval monk.

If you’re in the Boston area, I hope you’ll come. Anna’s reading will be an absolute treat and mine will be, if nothing else, a harrowing adventure. Our (published) books will be available for sale. I’m told there will be cookies, too. Reservations are recommended.



  1. Kathy Sands-Boehmer

    June 28, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for the update. I love reading your blog and you’re so inspiring! Just THINKING about writing a book of any kind is an undertaking, never mind sitting down and actually putting pen to paper or tapping letters and words together on a computer. Good for you!

  2. Wendy Mastronardi

    June 28, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Sounds wonderful, can’t wait!

  3. Ann Frenning Kossuth

    June 28, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Right now we’re watching “Finding Forrester” with Sean Connery in the title role, and your blurb made me think of this quote (by Forrester) in the movie. “No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is… to write, not to think!” I realize this is total b.s., nobody can ever totally silence their inner critic, but still, I admire you, and I know you can wean this darling little helpless fetal kangaroo — it’s all part of nature’s plan! Just imagine him out on his own, hopping around in all his adorable glory.

  4. I wish I could go! Can’t wait to read the finished kangaroo.

  5. Veronica von Bernath Morra

    July 12, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Jane: I came back from Montreal a day late and a penny short…so sorry I missed it. I am sure it went very well. Hope there will be many next times. You are a very talented writer and a fabulous mother. Don’t you forget it!! (No, Moock did not pay me to write that…)

    Anna : That was a wonderful movie, “Finding Forrester.” I had totally forgotten it.

  6. Unfortunately, this came at the expense of vilifying an entire faith with the literary fixtures like rapacious monks and superstitious villagers… Jane Eyre has a lot of religious issues from missionaries to bigamy and everything else in between.

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