Saturday, May 09, 2009

A lovely day--and some writing thoughts

It was a lovely day. Jacob woke up happy and as full of energy as a whirling dervish. He tries me--when I tell him no, he looks at me as though trying to figure out how serious I am about this, like the fact that a knitting needle is sharp and would hurt Jacob. But when I get stern enough and tell him no--or insist that we're going to change his diaper no matter what he thinks about it--he goes along. This morning he ate waffles and syprup, and I have decided to become the kind of grandmother who feeds them all the sweet things they shouldn't have but love.
After Jordan came to pick up Jacob (he declared he didn't want to leave so Jordan told him we were going shopping and would leave him here and he changed his tune pretty fast), Jeannie and I went to run and play--Tuesday morning, Steinmart, lunch at our favorite sandwich shop (egg salad was soooo good), and Central Market. She was ready to play all afternoon, but I insisted I had to come home and fix dinner for Jean and Jim (Jean just out of the hospital since Thursday) and have a nap.
I fixed chicken packets in foil--Stove Top stuffing, chicken, peas (well I forgot to buy them and used corn with the few peas I had), mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup and a bit of water (next time I think wine might improve the flavor) plus fruit salad and leftover roast broccoflower. For being out of the hospital for two days, Jean looks and sounds terrific but says she is aware that she can tire out quickly. I had made a chicken packet for myself, so that was dinner--with half of it let over.
But all day, while running around, I've been mulling about writing. In an obituary about Bud Shrake, he was quoted as once saying that "we write because that's how we figure out about life and death." The other night, when I had a meeting of the poet and the artist, the poet's wife said, "I write because I can. He writes because he has to." Both those statements have made me think. I have always felt that I write because I have to. I can't imagine a life without writing. But do the things I write help me or my readers figure out life and death and other significant issues? I'm not so sure. I think in some ways the historical fiction I have done may have moved in that direction but not significantly. And the cozies I'm trying to write now? No, they're escape reading, the kind I enjoy. But I once read that when you finish a book you should be in a different place than when you started it--and I don't think that's true about the two mysteries I've tried. Now whether they have value for entertainment may be a different question. The children's books? Yes, I feel they've made a contribution to children's knowledge (albeit without helping them figure out the significant questions about life), so perhaps I've done some good there.
I have an idea floating around in my mind about a novel that may help me explore deeper issues, something that might be of more lasting value. And in my golden years I'd like to do that, I'd like to write one significant thing. Meantime I have that second mystery to finish.
And I've thought that all that is what separates me from Bud Shrake and other writers of his signifigance.

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