Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hard thoughts on writing, some memoirsand some critters

If you follow this blog at all, you probably know I am about 12,000 words into a mystery. I keep putting it aside for other things, even while I read all those posts on the Sisters in Crime and AgentQuest listservs about persistence, keeping after your writing, writing is hard work, etc. As I sit at my desk, trying to drum up free lance projects which require more research than creativity, thoughts flit through my head about that mystery--how to toughen it up, make it different from the thousands of cozies editors see every day. And then I go back and rewrite that first 12,000 words. It occurred to me yesterday that I am running away from the hard work of writing, looking for the easier, distracting chores. I used to know a historian who said, "A page a day is a book a year." Some days I'd do six or eight pages, and then coast on my laurels. But I think I'm going to go back to Don's advice--I'm going to write something new on that novel every day. You see, last night I rewrote again--the characters keep taking firmer shape in my mind, which occasions all that hard rewriting. Even now I've thought of something I didn't rewrite last night and have to, if things are going to work out the way I think they will.
Right now I'm reading a book with a wonderful title: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. The recipes are good, basic Italian, and I'm enjoying it. Author is Giulia Melucci. Just finished It is Well with My Soul, the autobiography (with a co-writer) of 106-year-old Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson, the first black woman to receive a masters from Case Western Reserve University (in social work). It's a good lesson in communication and parenting--words are everything.
Critters: Yesterday morning I glanced out the front door and saw something with a long hairless tail scooting across the porch. Having been invaded by rats a couple of years ago, I was really apprehensive. It proved to be a possum--I think that's who's (or what's) eating Scooby's food when he doesn't. Later when I went down the driveway I saw that the possum had a buddy. I'm not much on judging the size of possums, but I thought these were young. My neighbor said he had no idea either. When I was unloading groceries later, one came quite close to investigate. I shooed it away gently--what would I do if it got into the car to investigate my groceries? I know when cornered they can be mean, so I surely don't want to corner these.
I finally found a reasonable bird feeder that looked squirrel proof and hung it in the yard yesterday, but so far no birds.
But I had a cat underfoot all day. My fussy eater smelled the chicken I was cooking and would not get out of my way. Finally I put a few scraps in her dish and poured a bit of broth over it. She lapped it up, but today I was cooking vegetables--not her deal at all--and she was still underfoot. If I wanted her in the kitchen, she wouldn't deign to be seen there. "Dogs have masters, cats have staff."
Good dinner tonight with company--my successor as director of the press and his wife. We had wine and salmon tartare on the porch--hot as it's been, there's a nice breeze. But we decided dinner indoors would be better because of the noise of the traffic. My cold supper was a hit--the chicken loaf was good as was the roasted vegetable salad. Nice company, a pleasant evening.

No comments: