Susanna J. Sturgis    

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Coming Around

Coming Around was going to be my first novel, but Mud of the Place pushed it aside; it was going to be my second until the squatters showed up. With Mud's publication imminent, I'm thinking that Coming Around -- the Great American Martha's Vineyard Feminist Horse Novel -- isn't going to happen, at least not the way I imagined, and reimagined, and re-reimagined it. It's too anchored in the mid-to-late 1990s, and I'd rather write about what's happening on Martha's Vineyard now. Now, in 2008, I've been part of the M.V. horse scene for almost 10 years. My experiences are already breaking down into compost; they'll be fertile soil for a Great American Martha's Vineyard Feminist Horse Novel, but that novel isn't Coming Around.

At least it's not the Coming Around I've been gestating all these years. Coming Around is such a great title (with a great epigraph) that who knows? Maybe, in the spirit of composting, it can be recycled. Celia, a key character in Coming Around, has already been drafted into The Squatters' Speakeasy. She's having such a good time that I'm sure she's going to stick around. The other characters, events, and backstory for Coming Around are so vivid in my mind that I know they really happened, even if no one ever wrote them down.

Whether it's ever completed or not, Coming Around has transformed my life. Its protagonist, one Jamie Averill, first appeared to me in early 1977. She made me move to Martha's Vineyard ("if Jamie can do it, why can't I?") and was probably at least partly responsible for getting me back into horses (ditto). What next? Damned if I know. I'm just the writer.

To go again where you have gone: Increase.
To go backwards: Danger.
Better to come round.

Ursula K. Le Guin
(Always Coming Home, 1985)

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