Gosh, it’s been a while. Life has been insane lately. Between my regular day job and teaching yoga, I haven’t been home much. I’ve been subbing here and there, and I had the Harry Potter yoga workshop, which went over phenomenally, and then it was off for vacation. I think I’ve mentioned Erin a few times, but as a proper introduction on this blog, she is my muse. Both in the mythical sense and in a very literal sense. Whenever I need help with something, I call upon her. Whenever I’m in a slump or procrastinating, she always seems to know that she needs to give me a nudge. I’ve always worked better around people, which seems odd to me since I don’t particularly like being around people all that much. As an introvert, I love my alone time. I love to sit in my room on a Friday night with six candles lit, a mug of tea and a cat nearby, and read, either in silence or with instrumental music.
Wow, okay, so that just described exactly what I’m doing tonight.
The thing is, whenever something big is happening in a novel, or whenever I need to create something specifically, I gravitate toward people. Recently, I needed to create an altar for the Pen boys, so I carried all of my white and blue crystals into Jen’s room, burned some palo santo, and drew cards while she read on her bed. We didn’t talk–we didn’t have to. I just needed that other creative soul to light a fire inside my ribs.
Erin is a strange, wild creature. She has many titles–witch sister, anam cara, Fencehopper, little queen–and something magical always happens when we’re together. It happens when we’re apart, too, but much more noticeably when we’re physically sitting next to one another. The words won’t stop. I’ve talked about how the Pen boys came to be–on a drive to and from New York after wandering the seaside. A lot of my fanfictions happened because she said one thing while sitting on my bed in college. This week, we discussed two things, though one of them excites me far more than the other. The first, a Marauders fic, is something we’ve both wanted me to write for a long time. I’d really love to write it, too, but the second thing was about Mason, and gosh, for the first time in a while, I am so eager to get back to him.
It’s not that I haven’t been writing him because I have been thinking about him, but I’ve also been avoiding him. There is a lot of anger and hurt wrapped up in those words, and the Pen boys were a way for me to escape that. Now, though, I’m starting to see what he could be, where the potential in his story lies.
Back when this blog was private, there were a couple weeks where I was helplessly confused about the scope of his story. Was it four, three, two, or one? Three originally, a trilogy of his story. Four next, one for each elemental. Two, then, because three was too much. And finally, one.
I’m pretty sure I was wrong all along. Mason might be endless. Mason might be my DragonLance. (For reference: there are 17 novels by the original authors.) No one is surprised when I say that all this started in Salem. Of course it did. Jolie Tea was where Madhouse was born. We started the day at Jolie, wandered through witch shops (goodness, I love Coven’s Cottage so much, thank you for existing), had lunch in Life Alive (also inspiration for Madhouse), and ended our day in Pyramid Books (which is what Olive’s shop is based off of). I couldn’t stop thinking about him, couldn’t stop talking about him. I kept telling Erin that I missed Madhouse, that I wanted to go back, and I never wanted to leave. Madhouse calls to me. Sometimes, it’s not even Mason or Lukas or Dhaval or Olive. Sometimes, it’s just the teashop. There’s so much there to explore. And then, it just came out, “Is there any way I can stay there for more than one book?” Immediately, Erin said, “Absolutely. All the adventures.”
The Madhouse Adventures
Or something of that ilk. A series of separate adventures based around the same characters, exploring the life of the teashop and its inhabitants. Oh, yes. This means so much more than it sounds like. This means I can start the story earlier, show the very first time Mason looked at that abandoned building and thought, yes, this is perfect, show Dhaval’s bewildered expression as he asked, uh, are you sure? I can show the fire that nearly burned down the shop Olive took over, that Mason may or may not have started. I can show before, during, and after the addiction. I can show more of Lukas, Miriam, and Leila; more, even, of Dhaval, Rajani, Nila, and Amar. I can show Mason hiring all of the pixies, goblins, gnomes, and dryads that work at Madhouse, show how he first met Vayu, the couple that owned the bookstore, his early relationship with the twins and Akash, and just–all of it. There’s so much there to play with, and I think, finally, that I can.
I know already that I won’t be rewriting the Pen boys entirely. I’ll edit what I have already. The bones are really, really good, and there’s a lot that I can keep. This is true about Mason, too, but there’s something to be said for the darkness lingering in it. Mason, true to his character, needs to burn up and be rewritten again. And he will.
First: finish the Pen boys.
Second: finish Alex the Destroyer.