Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Easier near the end...

sunny, hot, hazy - like everyone else in NA it seems. temps 32

Came in to Montreal to concentrate on the final push. No interruptions - I thought. Arrived at 9 last night, driving in from the country. Unpacked, and straight to bed. Woke up at 7:30 to drilling. A screeching so loud I thought it was inside my head. And certainly, and disconcertingly, inside our apartment. I threw on sweats and looked into the hall.

I figured it must be in the apartment above us. So I marched upstairs. I felt like a villager off to slay Frankenstein's monster. Determined. Once up there I quickly realized there was no monster on that floor, so up I walked to the next level. Screeching continuing, but not as loud.

Back down.

I couldn't, for the life of me, track it down. It was like it was in the walls and ceiling itself.

So I went down to speak to the doorman. Sydney. wonderful man. He told me they were replacing crumbling concrete on some of the balconies.

'At 7:30 in the morning?' I asked.

He nodded.

'But why's it so loud right in our apartment?'

'Because it's a concrete building,' Sydney explained, and I realized not for the first time, 'and sound travels. And it seems the farther you are away from it the louder it gets.'

Which seemed both perverse and probably true.

So all morning, while I made cup after cup of cafe au lait in the Vive Gamache mug, I heard the screaming of either the drills or my fellow tenants. But, as you probably know from working on your own projects....a sort of miracle happens and the world fades away. After a while I was completely immersed in following Gamache, Beauvoir and the others through the halls of the monastery, as they tracked down a killer.

And they're getting close. I'm at page 266 out of 285. I started the say at 249 out of 280. I move forward and the end moved back. I may never end. I'll be blogging about this book for decades, and you, poor souls, will be patiently reading about it - or perhaps, like the screeching, you'll simply tune it out.

But i have to say, I'm excited about this book. It just takes a long time to get it right. When I finish this draft I'll take a week away then start at the beginning again. And keep at it until it's right.

Michael and I had the most wonderful day yesterday. We headed to Cowansville for brteakfast at the Station - where jackie served us the best french toast with sliced strawberries and bananas...then did some chores...then head to Hovey manor for lunch. We'd invited our friends who're staying at the guest cottage to join us. Bal, Linda, Bethany Mount and their friend Trevor, who also visited last year.

I've posted a not great photo of Bal and Trevor. Bal's on the left and Trevor's on the right. And one Bal took of Michael and Linda, with me in the middle. As you see, it was a spectacular day. And it gave us such joy to share a place we love with people we love. We sat under a tree and sipped Elderflower and chatted. Then went onto the verandah and had lunch. Duck confit, lobster rolls, grilled chicken salads, steak brochettes....and for dessert, lemon cream parfaits, brownies and fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Dear Lord, take us now.

But the day wasn't over. We hopped in the cars and zoomed off to the nearby abbey of Saint-Benoit, where the abbot, Dom Andre and Brother Charles were waiting. The abbot's preparing for a huge concert he's giving this Saturday as part of the Orford Music Festival....the abbot is one of the leading harpsicord and organ players in North America. He interrupted his practicing to see us.

Well, by 'us' I don't mean Michael and me. Nor do I mean Bal, Linda or Bethany. I mean Trevor. If the abbot is one of the best harpsicord musicians in NA, Trevor is one of the best in the world. Trevor Pinnock is his name. He's also a conductor. Indeed, Brother Charles had seen him conduct Romeo and Juliet in NYC a few years ago, with Kathleen Battle performing.

When the abbot heard Trevor was around he issued a lovely invitation. And Trevor, lovely man, accepted.

Now, we thought it was to say a quick hello, and let the abbot get back to work. But instead, the abbot wanted to show Trevor his harpsicord, so off we went to his private practice hall in the abbey and there it was. Trevor seemed extremely impressed and sat down.

And started to play.

the rest of us slumped to whatever seats we could find...stunned. To have a private performance by a virtuoso was such a gift. It left Michael in tears. Moved by both the music and Trevor's generosity. And then, the abbot took the seat and performed one of the pieces he'll be doing on Saturday. We were agape with amazement. The sounds, the glory of the music, the power of these two men as they played. And their passion. And to be within touching distance - it was a treat beyond imagining.

Then it was time to leave Dom Andre to his work, after many thanks...and wonderful Brother Charles took us on a tour of the monastery...into places he hadn't even shown Michael and me before.

We said goodbye outside the monastery shop, where we went in and Linda and I cleared them out of fresh pies and apple crisps. The monastery makes cheese, but it also has an organic apple orchard, and make their own pies and sauce.

It was pathetic - like a feeding frenzy - probably scarred young Bethany for life - seeing her mother and me in such a state of rapture. Not unlike, now that I think of it, Trevor and Dom Andre when they were performing. Pies are our harpsicords.

Then, back home, a quick swim and into Montreal. Michael stayed behind with Trudy and the pool.

More writing tomorrow...while we were at the abbey Dom Andre told us an old monastic saying that eternity is a very long time, but it gets easier near the end. As someone increasingly familiar with eternity, I hope that's true!

Hope you're not melting!


Alice Irvan said...

Thanks for the update. So much for peace and quiet to "think."

John said...

Trevor Pinnick...WOW! How cool is that!!! Thanks for sharing, Louise!


P.S. I look forward to seeing you on tour at The Bookstall, outside Chicago, in September; very excited!!!

Lee Ann said...

My husband is dying of envy! Trevor Pinnock!

I'm looking forward to reading the new book, while eating apple pie.

Lee Ann

Linda said...

Hi Louise,
Your life is full... from great friends, and good food, to noisy apartments... Your attention to detail, and your desire to make each book the best ever is so appreciated. Can't wait for my pre-ordered copy!!
Thank you, and try to keep cool!!

Donna K Wisconsin said...

Also looking forward to my pre-ordered copy. Visiting old friends via Gamache. 100 degrees here yesterday in Green Bay. We had a beach put in at our pond. Wish we'd have done that yrs. and yrs. and yrs. ago. Wasn't that expensive..all the labor, machinery, digging and sand delivered was about $800. Just in time for the 5 yr. old grandson. Now we have a nice walking in access place to the pond for getting in and out of floats and kayaks and ust playing in general.
Now if we could come up with someting as fun for the winter...

Thanks for the stories as usual. I love hearing about Michael and your positive approach to all things. Donna K

Barbara said...

What a wonderful day you had! Sorry about the noise, but I think noisy things follow writers around like little gremlins, giggling as we go nuts. Here it's heavy equipment in the bluestone quarries and now gas well drilling. To think we moved here for the peace and quiet!

lil Gluckstern said...

So lovely to have that image of two musicians playing harpsichords in an old Monastery. A gift for all the senses. I'm sorry about the noise in your apartment, but it does sound like you are getting there-with your usual precision. Again, I look forward to reading it.

Mary Lee said...

I so like to hear about your everyday life, from editing, traveling, entertaining to inspiring the rest of us. Your next book sounds great, but I can't wait for TRICK of the LIGHT to come out. I look forward to seeing you in Omaha at the Bookworm!

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise

Actually going to Dom André Laberge's concert this afternoon at St Benoit du Lac. Can't wait.

Meshell said...

"a treat beyond imagining" I can see it all and almost taste the fressh pies! Thank you so very much for sharing it with us.

Luise said...

I'm in the middle of Bury Your Dead and thoroughly enjoying it, but there's something I'd like to raise in a less public forum than your blog or Facebook. Do you have a personal e-mail I could use or something? It's not earth-shattering and probably won't matter to you in the long run, but ... Back to the book.

Anonymous said...

For Luise:
From Louise's website:

I can't tell you how meaningful it's been for me to read your messages. Thank you for taking the time to find the site, to read this far, to read the books and now to write to me. I know the effort involved and I'm most grateful and will do my very best to get back to you!

--Marjorie of Connecticut

libraryperson said...

That was a real gift of the music. I do like your writing about the food - it does make one hungry. I am looking forward to reading Trick of the Light and the next one too. I do like how you share about your writing of your books.