I know it is completely psychological but I’m going to bake some brownies today on my lunch break so that the house smells yummy and inviting. My house is charming except the ground floor, where the dining room and kitchen are. The dining room has brick red tiles, lavender-gray and rose paint and a dark red marble fireplace—-no, *we* are not responsible for that—-and it is a bit somber because the windows and door face east. The kitchen is miniscule.
Thursday, I told the boss that we are moving, and his response? Ca m’arrange pas du tout. Sorry, boss. He acted a bit like I’m betraying him because I’m leaving my part-time, minimum wage job to follow my husband. When I started this job, it was only supposed to be for a duration of 4 months (they asked if we had plans of leaving; since I didn’t have plans that would come into effect in the next four months, I said “no”). I’m now going on my eleventh month and I stuck with them when they were only giving me 14hrs/wk. My job is very cushy, hours and pay notwithstanding (I don’t have to do much; it gives me time to read and write; and it is 3 minutes by foot from my house), so it is not like I mean to complain, but they haven’t exactly done things to gain my undying loyalty. (Frex, last year, before the opening, they asked me to clean the gallery after the workmen left; it was a mess and took me sixteen hours—including working on a public holiday. They didn’t pay me for it. Not a cent. And of the ten paychecks I’ve received only TWO of them have been error free where they didn’t accidentally forget to pay me for a dozen or so hours.) Anyhow, didn’t mean to rant about all that. Just wanted to say how funny I found it that they feel they have the right to be angry with me and treat me like I’m leaving them in the lurch when I have a perfectly legitimate reason for quitting.
Last night I drove down to the river to gather some rocks for my wall garden, and I had the car windows down and the radio on. The air was perfumed with lilacs, wisteria, fruit trees, and all manner of flowers and flowering bushes, not to mention the lovely fragrance of freshly-cut grass. The sun was setting behind Sancerre and the sandy beaches of the Loire and the rocky hillsides of the vineyards were tinted dusky rose. Down by the river, I saw a male pheasant, just strutting through a field, proud as you please. He didn’t fly off so I stopped the car and got out to watch him. Horses in the pasture on the other side of the dirt track whickered and trotted over for a petting session.
I am going to miss this place. I won’t regret leaving; I’m not that kind of person. But I will always have that nostalgic twist of “remember when?”
Dans le pays des mots et des idées: I have not been writing. I don’t even know how long it has been since I last wrote fresh material. I feel disconnected and uninspired and have felt so for a long time. In order to get back into things, I’m rereading. Since I’ve been doing other things on the side, I’m only up to chapter twelve. I’ve found things that I really like, things that I forgot I wrote, things that need work. However, I’m not stopping. I did allow myself to open a doc where I can say “c12 pg3 smooth such and such,” but I’m not editing as I go.
Since this book is my first, I don’t know that I will ever be completely satisfied with it. I’ve learned so much in the course of writing it and realize that there is a lot more to learn that may be impossible to do in this book because of its set tone, structure, etc. Having other ideas and the desire to try something new makes me itch to just put this one aside and get started on something else. I don’t mean short stories. I mean another novel, with novel-sized ideas and themes. Nevertheless, I *need* to have something finished. I need to have that completion. And I’m not *that* far from the end (60-70K isn’t a big deal, right?).
Les livres: I’ve been doing a bit of reading these past two weeks. I’ve read Ann Hood’s Creating Character Emotions, which I most emphatically do NOT recommend. I also read Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel II, and I feel so-so about it. I did find the part about premises to be interesting because it showed me another way to think. I did get to lining out the premise in TTD but only after the fourth draft. I would like to start my next project with the premise first. Fictionwise, I’ve reread all the Chronicles of Narnia (except The Silver Chair, which I read about six weeks ago). I also read McKillip’s In the Forest of Serre (ItFoS). I liked it, but it was an eye-opener to me concerning a rich style. I have (had?) trouble grasping people’s comments before when they said I was giving the reader too many gems, or as raecarson put it in a recent post, writing too frequently at a level ten. After reading ItFoS, I can understand why the reader appreciates direct prose and I would even go as far as to say needs direct prose and images in order to have time to prose and enter into the story. I’m still not decided on whether or not enjoying an intricate, imagery-heavy story is a matter of mood.... I’ve also read Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I was amazed to note that, especially in the first part, she has almost zero setting. I wonder if I had not read so many other books of this period and seen so many movies, if the lack of detail would have bothered me. As it was, I had enough knowledge to draw my own fairly accurate picture of these places and people in this time period.
I still have seven other Austen books to read, John Gardner’s Grendel, A Handmaiden’s Tale, and on the HTW front, Swain’s Techniques of a Selling Writer. I think I’m finished with HTW books unless someone I trust can recommend a fabulous one that doesn’t rehash what all the others say.
Okay, lunch break time...