Friday, 11 March 2011

Huffed and Puffed...

overcast, rain, temps plus 3

What a time! Terrible earthquake in Japan...tsunami. Frightening to watch. Very odd to be having breakfast in front of the TV - something we never do except in extraordinary times...watching the news and the tsunami approaching across the Pacific. At first we were watching the Today show - but they only seemed to talk about Hawaii and the US mainland. So we switched to the BBC and heard all about Japan and the Philippines and Australia and the smaller, low lying islands. As well as the US.

Thank Heaven it wasn't worse.

Puts what we've been through in the past few days into perspective. But what tumultuous weather we've had. From being pounded by snow storms - that photo was taken by a neighbor in Knowlton - to gale force winds (at least, i call them gale force) to torrential rains.

The winds were so strong yesterday they blew the satellite dish from the guest cottage, as well as the eaves troughing and the soffits. Practically blew it down. Poor Bal and Linda and Bethany, not to mention Wayson Choy who came for some peace and quiet to finishing his next book.

I'm back in Sutton. Came down Wednesday...and had everyone over (by everyone I mean the guest cottage friends) for dinner that night. Salmon, chicken caccitore, shrimp, brown basmati rice and a baguette sliced and made into garlic bread. and for dessert a selection of cheeses, pears, grapes, and gluten free brownies.

All bought in Montreal at a caterer. Except the garlic bread and rice.

Wayson left today. Delightful man. Brilliant writer. He brought some origami birds and folded them before dinner, as we sat in front of the fireplace. And gave one each to Michael and me.

Bethany, who is 15, sang at dinner - she has a magnificent voice. and yes, we made her sing for her supper.

We just had a blast.

Writing every day, of course. Often, at this stage, I loathe the writing. Scares me to death. I'd rather be doing anything else. But with this book I actually long to be in it.

have hit a difficult patch. have been going over and over the same ten pages...needing to adjust. it just wasn't quite right. A lot of info needs to be imparted, and new characters met...and it needs to be done carefully. So that you don't get lost or confused. And so it also seems natural.

Would Gamache really ask that question next? What would Beauvoir be doing? Is that what one of the witnesses would say?

One problem that became obvious was that there were too many characters. But I needed them in that scene. What to do, what to do? I walked around with that problem, and every day I'd try to solve it - then write some new pages. And every evening I knew it wasn't quite right.

But last night I think I got the answer.

Combine two characters.

It wasn't really the answer I wanted, so I ignored it for a while. Then finally relented. And felt huge relief. But it meant going back over a lot of what I'd already written, and changing it. Just finished doing that. Fortunately it also simplifies the scenes, and that is always a good thing. makes what's important clearer. Makes each character clearer.


Michael went over to the cottage this morning, where Gary was working to restore the eaves and the satellite man, Luc, had showed up. Poor Linda and Bethany - it was like an invasion. Surrounded by men crawling all over the house.

Now we're waiting for Phil - who is coming to talk to us about possibly converting the main house to geo-thermal. We had someone in about 10 days ago, to also talk with this is the second quote and opinion.

Seems the way to go - though it's expensive to put in. pays for itself quickly - but still, a large hit to begin with. But fascinating to hear about.

Brother Charles, my contact at the abbey of St-Benoit-du-lac, continues to be very helpful, answering all sorts of mundane and sometimes riduculous questions.

In the meantime, over riding all this activity, we pray for the people of Japan. And all those effected by the earthquake and tsunami.


PainterWoman said...

I agree that BBC or even CNN is often better than the so-called morning shows. I woke up to NPR accounts of the earthquake... Can't imagine being on the west coast, or Hawaii and having sirens wake me up..
Your daily blog is making me think I should re-start posting and writing... sort of "morning pages" but for public consumption.
Good luck with weather, and multiplying characters.

Fabulous photo of the deer.

A Novel Woman said...

Love that photo of the deer.

You can't go wrong with geo-thermal. Friends of ours put it in at their cottage during the renovations. It's toasty warm in winter, and beautifully cool in summer, almost like air conditioning! They're very happy they did it, although it is a big expense at first.

Anonymous said...

I know that terrible things are happening in the world, between Libya and the earthquake/tsunami, but I have to admit I am dying to know what ridiculous question(s) you've been asking the monks.

lil Gluckstern said...

I think that when there is a disaster of this proportion all we can do is hope and pray for people affected, and relish our lives which feel small sometimes. I live on the coast, but not on the water so no ill effects except for all the phone calls, and the reawakened fear of earthquakes. Your book sounds fascinating; I suspect you are getting better and better. Hope your household is put back together. Love the deer.

darlene said...

Living in Vancouver made me think I should get all my earthquake gear together, but if the devastation would be like that in Japan, what's the point, I wonder. Those poor people!

The deer photo is so positive and sweet.

Very intriguing to read of your writing wrangles. Thank you.

Jock Mackenize said...

Thank you for sharing the journey of this new novel. I have now finished my third Gamache book and am taking a short Giles Blunt break so I can savor the next adventure with Armand.

It amazes me that you have the oomph to write the blog after spending so much time and energy with your novel - but am glad you do. I hope the picture I insert actually gets inserted as it may speak to how you feel about the writing and re-writing process.

/Users/jockmackenzie/Desktop/Love - Hate.jpg

Nancy said...

I have just started reading your books, and have just finished the first one. My sister-in-law in Maddison CT. recommended you to me. I am headed to Sutton tomorrow to ski with family and friends for the week and I have the second one packed. I look forward to more adventures. I greatly appreciate the weather update, as it will have an impact on our activities.

Joy said...

Louise, thank you for the wonderful photo and stories of your writing process. Like you (and the other commenters) I am praying for those in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific islands, and the west coast of the U.S. Funny isn't it - I'm in a war zone and feel safer here than those in the countries which have been lashed with floods, earthquakes, and other weather disasters. God bless and care for us all.

sidnee said...

to think I mutter complaints when a little rain falls on the crowd at the weekend soccer game! Life in Ladner BC is wet, true, but simple light jackets and on with the day. so much heartache in our world, so little gratitude for the lack of it in our own sometimes. I, too, pray for those in anguish.

Diane said...

The picture of the deer is amazing, I love it. Combining two characters into one, what a feat! I, too, pray for all those caught up in horrid disasters. The awful ache for those who lost their loved ones pierces the heart and makes me realize how small my own problems seems in comparison.

Cheryl Bower said...

Many characters in a book can be confusing (think Steig Larsson, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) however sometimes it is so necessary. Keep plugging, Louise. Your books are such easy reads for us bookies that more characters will just add to their delight!

Marcia said...

Louise, I haven't caught up with "you" (meaning the blog) in awhile, so I tried to read several entries. I absolutely love the deer! We need to see that perfect animal in pristine sparkly snow right now, such a reminder of our incredible natural world. May I post this photo on Facebook, if I credit you?

Counting the months, at this point, until the new book! Rereading all the wonderful others. I can read about my Trois Pins friends over and over again.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all -

What great comments - thank you. And Marcia - feel free to post it, but please don't credit me because I didn't take the photo. Wish I did. but a neighbour in Knowlton, quebec took it, and it was posted on The Weather Network. But I think she'd love you to put it up. It is fabulous!

Cheryl Bower said...

P.S. Just came back from Fort Lauderdale Florida; was reading your book. A lady next to me said she has it but hasn't cracked the series of Louise Penny books...yet. Well, I gave her an earful. Anyway, she's starting #1 the minute she was getting home. Just wanted to let you know, I'm always thinking of your series!

Marcia said...

Louise, I shared your beautiful snowy deer scene on FB! Many thanks. What a wonderful photographer your friend is!

Cheryl, I love that story! I am constantly talking about Gamache...