Susanna J. Sturgis    


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The Squatters' Speakeasy

In my second novel, The Squatters' Speakeasy, assorted Martha's Vineyard musicians, artists, utopians, philosophers, and other misfits take over a trophy house and turn it into a coffeehouse. It takes place several years after The Mud of the Place and involves several of the same characters, including Giles Kelliher and Mama Segredo. After a long delay (about two and a half years, starting when my retina detached the first time on August 1, 2004), I returned to it the first of this year. I'd already done a lot of exploratory rough draft, in long hand (green ink for some parts, purple for others, red-orange for notes), and produced from it a typescript of a hundred pages or so. Now I'm fashioning this into stepping-stones toward the speakeasy. It's like a very slow spinning, with occasional breaks to shear, card, and/or wash wool and one when I seemed to be raising a lamb from birth. The guerrilla war against the local real estate industry has started. Several characters have taken the stage, among them an unambitious carpenter/blues musician who carries on conversations with his three guitars and his border collie, and a crusading newspaper editor with the politics of a born-again Milton Friedman. There are lots of songs in it. I'm trying to learn enough guitar to play at least some of them.


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