Forgive my silence. I've been taking sort of a mini-vacation from blogging, partly because I didn't have that much to say--we live in tumultous times, and major news event has piled on major event: a tsunami in Japan with the resultant nuclear crisis, tornadoes in the American South with apalling loss of life and property damage, the joy of the royal wedding, and the bitter triumph of Osama bin Laden's death. It makes my head spin, but all the news is capably--and sometimes not so capably--commented on by others.
I meantime have been in my own little world, revising a novel, which will be my project for at least the next two weeks. So you'll hear from me sporadically. I seem to go in novel-writing spurts (not the sign of a professional, I fear) but right now I'm delighted to be back in the familiar world of what I hope will become my second mystery, No Neighborhood for Old Women. If I hadn't said so before, yes, it's a deliberate play on Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men. The story behind it has to do with Literary El Paso, compiled by my good friend Marcia Daudistel, to which Mr. McCarthy declined to contribute. It's okay--Marcia's book is doing great without it. If you have ever lived in or visited El Paso or have an interest in bicultural writing, you should read this beautiful book.
But back to my mystery--I'm pondering why this character did that, was this event mentioned with a lead-up or did it just spring into being, are my characters being true to themselves? Too introspective? Too much description (I get carried away about Craftsman houses and old neighorhoods)? Too little description to set the mood? Rewriting is thorny business, sometimes much harder than that initial "just get it down on paper" phase, and I'm deep in it. Some of the problems come because I'm a pantser--I write by the seat of my pants instead of from an outline.
I'm also taking time to enjoy North Texas in the spring--to my mind its best season. This morning, with the top down on the car, I went to the nursery and Barnes and Noble, both trips I enjoy. I have my porch pretty well planted now--got fountain grass this morning, but it's too much for me to plant. Greg will do it next week. My sweet potato plants--those hardy, wonderful, oh-so-green things--have developed some kind of wilt. Greg suggested by phone this morning that I'm over-watering, and I admit I'm prone to doing that. So just now I only watered the marjoram, which was wilting, the basil, which like lots of water, and the parsley I just planted. Beautiful day to putter on the porch.
Alas and alack--isn't that a wonderful phrase?--some of my front yard flowerbeds are alredy past their prime. The spirea is fading, and the ox-eye daises are gone as are the iris, but the coreopsis is blooming, and the miniaure crape myrtle should bloom any time. And then there's that profuse plant on one side of the garden that blooms and blooms--but I can't remember the name. Anyway, it's still to come--like my crape myrtles, those are late bloomers.
The rest of the day is free--to work, to make macaroni salad for Mother's Day supper at Jordan's, to cook that piece of salmon in the fridge and eat some of that asparagus--maybe dining al fresco on the porch. A good day, and life is sweet.
If I'm absent from the blog, please bear with me for a while. I promise to be back in full swing by June 1.