Sunday, 29 August 2010

Finished - again

beautiful, sunny day, warm and humid - temps 26

Stunning day! And wonderful news. I finally finished the fourth draft. Thought for sure this would be the book that kills me. Not because there's anything wrong with the book - I hope! But because of all the other things in my life.

Have pledge to say 'no thank you' to everything next summer. And just have two quiet months, Michael and me alone in Sutton. It's gotten to the point where days when all I have to do is write feel like vacation.

Like today. Had 20 pages to complete and took me all day. Sometimes the fine-tuning is like that. I can stare at a sentence for half an hour wondering why it just isn't right. And then taking it out changes everything around it and so that needs fixing - and made better. There's just a whole lot of very, very delicate work.

But also took a day away from it last week. Michael and I went with our friend Susan to Shelburne, Vermont. Stayed Thursday night at the Shelburne Inn - which is on a spit of land jutting into Lake Champlain. Fabulous home build by one of the Vanderbilt daughters. Huge - but apparently considered something of a shack compared to the homes of other robber barons that were built on long island etc. They were considered quite strange to come to Vermont.

But the home has been preserved - furniture saved - and so staying there is like getting into the time machine and stepping out a glorious Vanderbilt in the late 1800's. Except - there's running water and electricity. But - no air conditioning or heating. So the Inn is closed from Oct. to May.

It's in a 400 acre farm - that produces cheese and meat and vegetables. And that was why we were take part in a Vermont Farm Fresh dinner thursday night.

To say it was magical would be to sell it short. We arrived at about ten to six for the six o'clock dinner. Parked the car outside the huge barn, expecting to be show to tables inside. But instead, we were shown up a path through a field, and up a hill. To a plateau. There, long tables had been set with white linens, silverware, glasses. flowers. A beehive oven was making bread. A bar had been set up and young men and women in livery were serving.

Now this was like stepping into a film set, without the annoyance of anyone shouting 'Cut!'

We chose a table at random, got a drink, and then it was time to eat. Course after fresh course. Salads, casseroles, free range beef wrapped in cabbage, all different ways to do summer and winter squash. And two young women who'd grown the vegetables and harvested them, were there, talking about it.

And from the field, as the sun set, we looked out across the farm, to the Green Mountains in the distance. Candles were lit. Dessert came. Tiny cupcakes made of fruits and beets, with whipped icing.

And then we followed the lamps back down the path, to our cars. Knowing we hadn't had just a meal - but a memory.

Next morning we got up, wandered the grounds of the Inn - had a magnificent breakfast. Sat in adirondack chairs by the lake. Then drove home. Amazed, yet again, at our good fortune and dumb luck, to live here.

I haven't blogged, as you might have noticed, for a few days. Life too hectic - have been focussing on getting the edit done. Some more smoothing still before I'll print it out - but it's all there. Just a small thought here - a clarification there.

Had a lovely, big article in La Presse yesterday on the French version of Still Life, called En plein coeur. And nice mention in Le Devoir as well. Have an interview tomorrow afternoon with the newspaper La Voix de L'est, and a TV interview, taping at Hovey Manor (more suffering, I'm afraid) - with Radio Canada Television - on Tuesday. Then off to Toronto for an event at the Canadian national Exhibition on Thursday night with Linwood Barclay. He's terrific - wonderful writer and lovely person. Then home Friday. Doug and the kids are coming for the long Labour Day weekend.

Oh, and I still need to write the Sept Newsletter. Yikes. Gotta run. Hope you've been well. Speak soon!


rapa said...

Thanks for sharing your evening at the Vermont Farm Fresh dinner. A lovely memory, indeed!

thomas reiser said...

I don't think anyone would blame you if the newsletter were a couple days down

lil Gluckstern said...

Lovely writing and how nice that you continue to enjoy those things and don't become jaded. We are lucky to share those moments with you. The book will reflect all the hard work you put in, and we will love it.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Thank you for your understanding. And glad you liked the dinner too. It really was dreamy.

And, got the newsletter written too. Phew.