Monday, 8 March 2010


Sunny skies - a few clouds, breezy - temps minus 3

Nice day - I'm thinking of taking Trudy snow shoeing this afternoon. Too bad thinking about it isn't enough!

Picked up the copy of Billy Bishop Goes to War that Maurice at the local radio station had kindly transfered to CD. I'm so excited about it - but have decided to save listening to it until I exercise tomorrow. Always good to hold out a treat for myself - normally it's an eclair.

Got an email from Jen Forbus this morning. She has a terrific, and very creative, blog called Jens Book Thoughts. She wrote to say the voting has started in the first round of the Detective matches. As you might know, Armand Gamache is going head-to-head with Jesse Stone, by Robert Parker. Gamache might be at a slight disadvantage because he doesn't carry a gun. Perhaps I'll give him one, just for this tournament. But I don't think so. He must use his wiles to win.

Here's Jen's message -

Week 1 of the World's Favorite Detective Tournament is open for voting. Come fill out your ballot; it's quick and easy!

And then pass the word along to all your friends! Support your favorite detectives in our own Mystery March Madness.

If you'd like to enter the contest, there's still time to do that. Entries for predictions of who will make the Elite Eight, the Final Four, the Championship and who will take it all, will be accepted through midnight tonight only:

Good luck to all the detectives!

I hope the links Jen sent work.

The writing went much easier today. it often does after struggling for a day. There's a sort of breakthrough. did 2,000 words today and am now sitting about about 12,000 works in the first draft. I generally race through the first draft, pushing myself, mostly because I really don't like first drafts and want it over with. Having said that, when the writing is going well there are few feelings like it on earth - at least in my experience. That sort of bliss that comes from doing well what I know I'm meant to do.

Still, it's hard work and it is clear to me now that while I'm willing to work hard, and I know that is the only way I'll achieve what I want...I don't actually like working hard.

Do you know what it is? Fear.

The fact is, if I didn't have a contract to write...if my publishers dropped me - I would still be doing exactly what I'm doing today. Writing an Armand Gamache mystery. I just need to remember I'm doing it because I love it.

I also need to remember that most people have really, really hard jobs. They don't get to sit in front of a fireplace. They don't get to wander into their own kitchens and make cafe au laits. Or break up work by snow shoeing with their dogs. Most people don't get to write blogs for kind readers, or respond to people who have taken the time to write nice emails.

Most people work hard, for little money, for almost no recognition, often for demanding and demeaning bosses.

I get to open my laptop and enter Three Pines, and have meals with Clara and Myrna, Gamache and Beauvoir.

And sometimes it's hard. But a bad day today is still better than my best days before I was writing. When fear had won.

The only shadow over our lives today is worry about the Mount's dog, Tara. She's old and frail and almost certainly dying. Linda sits up with her all night, both dozing when they can. Linda and Bal worrying whether Tara is in pain. Whether her time has come. but as they put it, what they want to do is get rid of the suffering, not the sufferer.

And so they continue to comfort Tara. And wait. And pray to know when her time has come.

Today, when we got up at 7:30 their van wasn't at the guest cottage. And it still hasn't returned. We wonder if Tara's time came in the middle of the night and they took her into Montreal. to their vet there. I guess we'll find out.

Very sad, as most of you know - having faced exactly this same decision. And perhaps some of you are facing it right now too. if so, my sympathies.

Be well. Speak tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts and best wishes go out to the Mounts, and to Tara. It is never easy, yet making that decision is love at its finest. Support coming from the States.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog.
It is great being with you while you write. It is like we are part of the process. I wish I was more self motivated and had the will power to follow my heart.

Shelagh said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friends, and for Tara. I remember a year ago you wrestled with the same decision, as we did three months before that. And I agree with "Anonymous" - making that decision is love at its finest. It's the loved animal we are thinking of, and not ourselves. If your friends do not know "The Rainbow Bridge" story, let them know about it; it's easily found on the Internet.

And lucky us, we get to share Three Pines with you, too - through your books and almost daily, through your blog.

Thank you.

Hugs, Shelagh

lil Gluckstern said...

How wonderful to love what you do and to share the process and the results with us. I know that I'd rqather not work hard, but it always feels like a triumph when I endure, and often succeed. Even not, we gave it our best shot.
I am so sorry sorry about Tara. I always marvel at how pets touch our hearts, and we ache for them and them. They give us so much joy, and we sorrow when they suffer.

joy said...

I am so delighted to share the journey of the new book with you. Coming to the last page of each book is so bittersweet - I love reading them, and wish I didn't have to wait so long for the next installment! Yup, another greedy reader. :-) How you have time to blog and write amazes me. I'm not an author (I work for an Ambassador) and can barely find the time to update my own personal blog more than once every 5 months. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with those whose lives you touch. My prayers are with the Mounts as they go through such a painful time.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog, especially about your writing habits as I am doing a bit of writing too. I share your dislike of first drafts; currently, I'm struggling with mine, of a novel. I dare not stop and go back to read because it's like crossing a raging river or climbing a high mountain. One has to keep going or lose heart.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Great news...Tara still on terra firma. Thank you SO much for all your thoughts and prayers and positive energy. And good sense.

I'll keep you updated.

And I'm so glad you're enjoying reading about the process. Fun to write about it too. And it's quite true - for me and clearly for many of you - the key is to keep working, through all the fear, and discomfort and even uncertainty. I dare not stop. Though as i blogged today, I sometimes need to go back and add small scenes - even a line or two. Went for a walk with Trudy today and thought of a single, pivotal Gamache line. Immediately went to put it into the draft, before even giving Trudy her 'home treat'. Poor one.

Blogger said...

Did you know that you can create short links with AdFocus and receive $$$$ for every click on your shortened links.