Monday, 23 May 2011

A little bit more

mainly sunny, beautiful day - a cool breeze has just appeared. temps 26

But temperature going down. I think, while pleasant now, this cool breeze is bringing something with it. Still, it's been a gorgeous few days here. But, like so many, we awoke to the news, and terrible images, out of Joplin. So much destruction - so many dead and missing. The destruction, the force of it, is almost beyond belief.

Honestly, Michael and I both send out thoughts, and prayers. It sounds so empty, but it has meaning for us.

Back at home we had a lovely day yesterday. Sat outside with our morning cups of coffee - then into the living room. Lit a fire. Not that we needed it, but it's cheerful. then spent much of the day writing and speaking to friends and family. Sunday is like that.

Then off to the cottage for a bbq with Susan. She did these wonderful sausages from a farmer up the road - Breese. And made our favorite salad ever. Watermelon, flat leaf parsley, mint, spanish onions and feta. She also had corn bread muffins and did mushrooms and onions on the bbq. For dessert she'd prepared posset. A lemon cream confection. If we could eat heaven, it would taste like posset.

When susan comes to our place for dinner we just hope Trudy doesn't throw up on her. We consider it even.

Today was a wonderful day - with absolutely no agenda except to write. Awoke to lovely sun. had breakfast by the pool, then washed the bedding and hung it outside to dry. Lovely to see the white sheets flapping in the wind.

then went inside, lit the fire and spent nine hours writing, and editing, and re-writing.

Normally I try not to edit too much on a first draft. But this was another pivotal and delicate scene, and I just knew it wasn't right. And I was worried that if this was even slightly off, almost unnoticeable, the balance of the book would get further and further away from what I want to say.

The setting was right. The characters were right. the elements were right. But there was a better way of telling it all. That would be delicate and subtle and multi-dimensional while appearing to be straight forward.

It was very tempting to just leave it, and fix on the re-write. And that might have worked. Frankly, at this stage, I'm just desperate to finish. I'm running a step ahead of exhaustion. Not physical, but a sort of mental and creative tired. In the marrow. But I keep saying to myself to just keep going. Another step. And make it beautiful. Make it right. make it meaningful. And then another. And then another.

Don't flag, I tell myself. And never, ever give into the syndrome that dogged me much of my youth. Good enough. Or, as my brother Doug calls it, Cloud 8.

Close. Close enough.

But I know what lies down that road. Disappointment. In the outcome, but mostly in myself.

I really love this book. the setting, the themes. They mean something to me. It's not just words, and not just a story. And I worry that I'm not going to do it justice. But then I whisper to myself - just one step. And make it beautiful, Make it joyous. Make it meaningful.

Because this is an important element in my life. And at the end of it I don't want to look back on a whole lot of, Good Enough. And when I look at what happens to many, many people - like those in Joplin - I think, how dare I buckle under so light a weight. Whatever burden I'm carrying is of my own making. And easily borne.

I don't expect this book, or any, to be perfect. But I do expect that they will be filled with the best I can give. And then, perhaps, a little bit more.

Hope you're well, and able to bear whatever weight you've been given. I know that you so often lighten my load, make me smile and feel not at all alone. thank you. I hope it isn't a one-way street.

Be well, my friends.


whalewatcher said...

Thank you for sharing about the writing of your books. Even though I may not be writing one your
journey speaks volumes to all our lives. I would like to publicly thank you for the ARC contests you do.
Never have I been more excited about anything than winning one of your books! I want to sit down and read it in one sitting, but I also like to savor it and have it to look forward to at the end of the day : )
Take care,

Dana said...

This is why we love your books and why they are timeless. I am listening to The Cruelest Month on my drive to Lennoxville (via Rimouski). Have read it twice, but will never get tired of this book, or any of your books.
Please know that your readers appreciate every word, especially those of us who read your blog.

Anonymous said...

Your care and artistry and sense of nuance is constantly a pleasant gift in the stories you produce. Some days the muses are busy, but you still have to put in the call, and maybe you only identify what your intention is, and have to wait for the creative flare to come again. Not a wasted day. You are right to just put one more word down, and then another. Quilters often succumb to inertia and end up with a closet full of UFOs: UnFinished Objects. So sometimes we come to a point where we say that finished is sometimes more important than perfect. But there the purpose of warmth is not dependent on perfect, just done. Great stories can be minimalist, but we love the details.

Lori D

Susan said...

It definitely isn't a one-way street. Not only do I love your books, but also your blogs, your Facebook entries, etc. I feel like I know you (and Michael) very well. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us.

Beth said...

Oh, Louise, posts like this are such gifts--like letters from faraway-but-treasured friends--that even if they were all you wrote, it could never be a one-way street. Add in the novels, and I am greatly indebted. And grateful. And I suspect I'm not alone in that.

On an unrelated subject, I read a blog post that reminded me of something you touched on previously, the gender-ambiguous child:

xxx Beth

EK said...

Just after I read your post about your writing struggle/process, I read this nice comment about your writing by Clare O'Donohue in an interview in Declan Burke's delightful blog, Crime Always Pays:

Barbara said...

What a lovely post. Thank you.

Like you, my heart breaks for the people of Joplin. It was such a nice town, but so many perished you wonder how everyone else can bear it.

Linda Gray said...

What a beautiful post. Definitely not a one-way street. I'm just amazed at the wholeness that allows you to draw sustenance as well as give it. Love, love, love Cloud 8 comment and your related efforts. That has inspired me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

lil Gluckstern said...

The weather has caused a lot of suffering and sorrow this year. We cannot avoid being touched and concerned about these events. On the other hand, everyone soldiers on, and shows their strength and resilience. Your blog is filled with joys and (vicarious) pleasures you bring. Sometimes, you bravely share your doubts, and concerns. This coming book is special somehow because you blogged about visiting the monastery. Please never doubt how much pleasure and honesty you have brought us.


Tall Pines Pottery said...

Louise, thank you so much for letting me into your private world. Really interesting from many perspectives. The live of a writer especially. Now, in regards to the movie, are the characters going to speak French when speaking between themselves, say the Chief and his agents, with subtitles in English, and the opposite, say if the Chief is talking to Clara Morrow, English with French subtitles?
See what crazy stuff I think about while working at my potter's wheel and listen to Ralph speak your books.