Friday, May 18, 2012

The Writerly LIfe

I'm feeling like a writer today, a feeling I don't always have. Some days I think I'm pretending, and someone will catch me in my hoax. But yesterday, my editor, Ayla, sent the third Kelly manuscript back for one last read--which she wanted today or tomorrow morning at the latest. I panicked, said I had too much else to do, etc., but of course I did it. By the time I went to bed late last night, bleary-eyed, I had read sixteen chapters. Finished the last three at lunchtime today and sent it off. The whole point was for me to cut down descriptions of food--more about that in a minute--and find typos. In the best of circumstances, I can't find typos in my own work--and I'm not terrific at it in other people's writing. But in my own writing, I know what it's supposed to say and that's what I see
Ayla is constantly after me to cut down on the descriptions of food, but I maintain that what we eat says a lot about who we are and what kind of person. My good friend Jim Lee, folklorist par excellence, once wrote, "One of the lessons that we have learned--or are beginning to learn--from the study of folklore is the importance of food and eating customs in unravelling the history of a people. . . . The foods we eat, the way we eat them, and the imagination we bestow upon their preparation will tell [much about us] to historians, folklorists, and anthropologists of Buck Roger's twenty-fifth century." I sent that quote to Ayla today. Not sure of her response. Kelly O'Connell of my mysteries is a so-so cook, often so busy that she takes her girls out or orders pizza. But  she tries, and I include her disasters (creamed tuna on toast, a spur-of-the-moment hamburger casserole that sort of came out like soup) and her triumphs--a baked ham with potato salad, a perfectly roasted chicken. I think that--and her restaurant meals, from puttanesca to a reuben--tell us a lot about Kelly. Of course, Mike, the man in her life, is terrific at cooking on the grill--that doesn't help Kelly's cooking ego at all.
May is Mystery Month, and tonight I signed books, with four other mystery authors--Laurie Moore, Paula LaRocque, Carole Nelson Douglas, and Wendy Lyn Watson--at Barnes and Noble. The community relations manager had a list of questions, and the discussion was pretty interesting. We all had a good time and signed a few books. Plus we left stacks of signed books behind.
A nice evening, but I'm yawning. Have to be up at six tomorrow morning for a seven o'clock signing. Peter at the Old Neighborhood Grill says that's when his Saturday readers come for breakfast, and it worked well for Skeleton in a Dead Space, so I'll try it again tomorrow for No Neighborhood for Old Women. My sweet daughter Jordan will meet me at the restaurant at seven--that's above and beyond, even for a daughter, and I'm grateful. Going to do a raffle for a three free copies of the third Kelly O'Connell novel, due out in August--Trouble in a Big Box.

No comments: