Monday, 12 May 2008


sunny, mild, temps 18

Anotehr lovely day - though mixed. When the sun went in briefly and the wind picked up it was quite cool. But this evening is stunning. Michael and I just came back from a walk. Needed to call Wayne Clarkson who cuts our grass. He also said he'd cut the guest cottage grass too. Tony normally does it, but announced that this year he'd rather do other things, of which we have no end. Happily Wayne is picking up the slack, and the cuttings.

Busy day - a little stressful. I find it's the accumulation of small things that gets me, not one or two huge things. Today it felt like a pack of details nipping away at us. The drinking water needed to be tested for the guest cottage. We're renting it out, and the water is a well, so we need to make sure we aren't poisoning anyone. Though if that was the case Susan would have perished months ago. Though, we haven't seen her recently...

Lots of birthdays coming up, so we needed to do cards.

Our laptop and Michael's desktop at work aren't working, so needed to meet with the wonderful Nancy Page, who performs exorcisms on our computers.

Had keys to be cut, groceries bought, Michael's meds to pick up, a chapter to read and critique, emails to respond to, and to top it all off, the US proofs arrived for the fourth book... A RULE AGAINST MURDER is what it will be called in the US - coming out in January. But I need to read the entire book, paying attention to the edited proofs and okaying all the small changes. It needs to be done by the end of the week and mailed back! Read 130 pages late this afternoon.

And, oh yes, book 5 to write. Happily that seems to be going well, though the characters (especially Gamache) keep following me into the bath and tell me where I've forgotten an important clue, or didn't pick up on an inconsistancy.

No boundaries, these characters. That's their problem.

And speaking of characters I said I'd discuss briefly why most of the young people in my books don't fare so well...Philippe in Still Life, Crie in A Fatal Grace/Dead Cold - Sophie in The Cruelest Month.

I don't really know why that is. the easy answer is that I was in quite a bit of emotional turmoil as a young person so I'm probably projecting. I think young people are heroic...and while not all the characters are heroic (especially Sophie), there is a very brave quality about them. Struggling mostly with themselves and their own insecurities. Not always successfully.

I think it's a difficult time - for the kids, and God knows, for the parents. All my friends who have kids entering that age are terrified of seeing their loving, kind child turn into a stranger.

However, I actually recognized this habit myself and decided to explore other sorts of young people in my next couple of books - including the one I'm writing. I'll see what you think.

I'm off. have a bit of a headache and need to get up early to take Trudy to the vet to be fixed. Take care, and thanks for reading, and for being so supportive. I really appreciate it.

Oh, we noticed that the 'forget-me-nots' are up, all through the grass around the pool, so in the sun the grass looks light blue.


Elizabeth said...

I look forward to your exploration of other young personalities. While it is true that many young adults go through a lot of angst, it's also the case that many (the quiet majority?) gradually transform into a life of greater independence and responsibility. The hardest part of parenting at this stage is to strike the balance between offering support and letting go. While it can be heartbreaking to watch your offspring make mistakes, not intervening can sometimes be the greatest expression of love and trust you can offer. Talk about conflict! As I talk to women of around my own age (51 last Sunday), the emotions of letting go often come to the fore. One of my friends, a senior lawyer with the Dept. of Justice, recently told me that in the midst of a walk on a beautiful spring day she found herself crying with the sense of loss. Her son left home this last year (along with mine) to attend university. I cannot confess to the same level of sadness, and yet it's there at some level. Being a parent never ends. You worry as long as you are both alive.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you so much for writing your experiences and feelings. I don't have children, as I'm sure you gather - so as a woman firstly, and as a writer it is so great to hear your thoughts - and what you've been through.

Michael used to talk about that with his sons - that it was so much easier to 'support' them - to throw money at them as well as affection - because then he needn't worry that they were alright. But he knew he'd be doing it for himself, not for them. And he had to allow them to live, and build, their own lives.

Amazing what you parents go through.

And - HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We're almost the same age. I turn 50 on July 1st.

Thank you, Elizabeth.