Hello Dear Reader,
I’m writing this post to thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for reading and for subscribing. I’m so grateful to have you with me in my lagoon, splashing around in this writing and reading pool. I hope it’s heated enough for you.
Here is my favorite local lagoon at Matheson Hammock Park in Miami. It’s so cool. Go for a swim, smell the BBQ and listen to the sounds of laughing and bachata music that swirl around its sandy, circular beach.
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I’d also first like to apologize for not having my holiday novel, Acid Christmas finished and out this year. I really wanted to share it serially, but the novel isn’t fully ready and I don’t want to release a book I’m not finished or thrilled with.
So for the holidays, you get this blog instead! And a holiday playlist. I hope you enjoy it.
Surely writing this Substack cut into my novel-writing habits a bit, but so did a host of other things beyond my control, and I think writing weekly here was worth it.
I started this space because I’d cultivated a 500-person newsletter from my website, books, and Instagram, and I had all these email addresses but hadn’t been emailing them.
I felt like I needed to have some kind of grand plan or funnel or something, and as I was fussing over different ideas, I wasn’t sending anything at all.
Then, I stumbled onand her Substack, which is basically her online personal notebook, and it was so casual, so whatever, that I thought, hey, I can do that…
It reminded me that I loved writing a blog, back when I was 21 and motorcycle riding my way through Uganda, crafting posts from open-windowed Kampala Internet cafes with roosters crowing outside and men calling for folks to buy salty roasted peanuts wrapped in newspaper.
So I stopped overthinking it, and behold, now we have Charlotte Dune’s Lagoon.
Initially, I recorded myself reading every episode in audio as well, like a podcast, but that was unsustainable with my schedule and it took much longer to produce each post, so I switched to only written content. You still can listen to every post using the Substack mobile app audio feature.
For the coming year, with the onslaught of new Ai tools that help transcribe and edit audio, maybe I’ll return to some podcastish interviews.
But, no new books this year, instead you get my 35-post Substack archive.
As for future novels, I’ve got one almost ready to go (Acid Christmas) and it will come out 100% for sure next year around the holidays. I’ve also written a short story collection called Mushroom Sex that is 60% completed, but not yet edited. I already have a cover designed for it, by the Italian artist who did my first two book covers, Giulio Valerio Villa.
There is also 40% of a first draft that I extracted from Mushroom Honeymoon, during the editing process, which will eventually transform into the third and final book in my Psychedelic Love Series.
Plus, I worked tirelessly for months on end this year with Ugandan writer and editor, Davina Philomena Kawuma, to polish my final draft of a memoir set in Kampala and Cameroon. This process was brutal because she is a blunt and unapologetic editor. She extracted the flaws of my manuscript and shattered some illusions I held about myself, and my book is better for it.
I had an agent for this memoir, but no publishers wanted it for various reasons, mostly political and market-related, but in some ways, I’m glad the book failed to sell because, after working with Davina, it’s much stronger. Not sure yet if I will look for a new agent and re-query the book or if I will self-publish it.
You can’t begin the meal with the water still boiling!
Why do I have four manuscripts in various stages of completion and a blog on the go? Well, the answer is, I have ADHD and I’m also a process worker and a multipotentialite. I don’t recommend this, but it’s just the way I am. I enjoy the process of my work more than the final result and tend to linger in the work, not the promotion of past work or the release. It’s not ideal, but it’s my nature.
My writing habits are erratic and other more lucrative or necessary matters often impede my book production speed.
I also totally renovated and started up a new geodesic dome Airbnb this year, which took up a lot more of my free time than I’d expected but is now getting rave reviews.
The plan is to host writing retreats in the dome and to build more single domes in the woods on the property, but I need to wait for my parenting responsibilities to taper down.
Books also require a fair amount of simmering and editing with me because I mostly “pants” my novels and don’t outline them in advance. So they are all still simmering and one day we shall feast, but, as they say, you can’t begin the meal with the water still boiling!
Speaking of boiling, I celebrated Hanukkah last night with my family, parents, brother, and nephew and made a three-course meal including homemade matza ball soup, which I’d never made myself before. It turned out great!
Are you celebrating a holiday this week/weekend? Which one? What are your traditions?
As my mother’s side of the family is of Jewish descent and my father’s side is Christian, I’m celebrating a mix of both holidays this year, with Hanukkah at our house and Christmas at my brother’s place.
Hanukkah at home feels more chill and less stressful to me than Christmas, with less decorating and more reflection. My daughter reads the prayer and we light the candles and she opens one small gift. There is no pressure for a big Santa Claus gift, and I’m just giving her practical items, like a new sweater and a cat-themed bento box for her school lunches.
Hanukkah is a revolutionary holiday of sorts, celebrating rebellion from oppression and freedom of religion, which feels important in 2022.
This year I also read the entire Torah (Books 1-5 of the Old Testament) from start to finish, taking notes and sharing my reflections in my Instagram stories. I’m not very religious, but I wanted to read it as a work of literature, and because it has so much influence on the world.
I read from this collection, which was totally worth the $150 price tag (though I see it’s now gone up in price). It’s printed on thick pages of high-quality paper and each book features a unique and stunning, gold embossed cover with many blank pages for notes, as well as artistic quotes and artwork throughout.
I highly recommend it if you’re looking to read the Torah or the Bible from start to finish.
Revealing each new cover was a great joy, and I didn’t look at any of them in advance, so each book was a surprise.
Anyway, that’s all for today.
I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me throughout 2023. I’ve got high hopes and big dreams for the future.
I’m also looking for guest contributors in 2023 and paying underrepresented writers to contribute. Please send in a pitch here if you’d like to submit your writing!
Have a very happy holiday and New Year!
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I was totally into domes for awhile but got distracted and haven't gotten back to them. Can you spill some deets on what that's like and how to get into it?
Happy Hanukkah!! 🕎