Even mid morning, it was too hot to walk for long. I could’ve kept going, but Finn seemed not into it, which is saying something.
AC cranking, I’ve got the finish line in sight for the reread of Section One of my manuscript. As usual, this puts other reading on hold. I finished Series One of Deb’s Prophets Tango and can’t wait to get to the middle volume. Because I’d read it all before, this read really allowed me to focus on just how good the writing is. The writing is really so good.
Want to start the week with the frank acknowledgement that between writing with others three mornings a week and editing my novel, I’m not able to show up here quite how I’d like. For now. Even with comments. Please be patient with me!
I took this photo in high school. It’s somewhere on Route 20 where the road loops over Lebanon Mountain, crossing from Massachusetts to New York. I think it’s just downhill from the infamous “Dead Man’s Curve.” It fell out of some shelf recently and I share it because it demonstrates the consistency and resilience of the house as motif in my work.
Scrolling backward to find a color xerox collage made in my early twenties, I tagged just a few recent house compositions.
Below is the piece I was hunting for. Two Isabella Street, Northampton — the last place I lived while a student at UMass. The photo was copied, cut up, fragmented, and copied again on what was then an absolutely ground-breaking and thrilling piece of technology: a color copier. It had a dial that allowed the scanner to apply different colorways. This copy shop was in San Francisco and I worked there and probably the only saving grace to that job was access to that Xerox machine. Now I can see that this red collage/color copy exhibits not only the resilient house motif, but a love for technology-aided variations (now done with filter in my iPhone). Somewhere, I have green and yellow versions of the collage.
Back to the binder! It’s cold and damp here today, which you might be able to tell from the shots from Finn’s and my walk this morning. The one of him lounging on the couch might have been taken while we were watching Stanley Tucci in Italy.
I’m adding light and shadow to appliqued hawk. Made her head lighter and used white poly for beak to make it pop. A scrap of fabric practically fell out of the basket and felt like a minor show of Providence.
Jude had the idea over on Instagram to darken some of the ripples around the hawk’s head. Since I like the way it adds a sense of motion, I may continue around the body as long as I have that color thread. It’ll look good flowing off the wings.
Had some gross polyester swirled with black in that basket, too. Added to tail and wings for more contrast. Light. Maybe you can see a difference with earlier incarnation, maybe not (below).
It’s nice to have company.
In the meantime, I finally talked to my paid manuscript consultant yesterday. Round three coming up. I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, perhaps even shouting off the rooftops: SHE LOVES MY BOOK.
I think people forget how solitary a process writing is.
House names should not be italicized. If I’m gonna talk about the elder Middletons toward the end, they need to be introduced earlier. Still sags here and there — needs tightening. Not so many descriptions of clouds, perhaps. Maybe not so much about Melody’s first owner. Explain what head rights are and how to memorialize land in Author’s Note, which starts like this:
When I began this novel, Trayvon Martin was alive and as I finished the second edit, George Floyd was dead.
The suggestion that I add an epilogue (say in 1758 after Eliza and Charles Pinckney return from a five year stay in England), will take a little more thought. That’s fourteen years after my original end. Lots of years I haven’t thought about all that much.
A six year time frame (1738 to 1744) allowed a laser-like focus. Etiquette in 1720? I don’t care! Rice markets in 1750? Also don’t care. Now I need to care. I’ll start with Eliza’s letters.
A walk with temps in the 40’s was cause for celebration this week. Daffodils shoving aside leaf debris. Snow shrugging off the curbs. It won’t be long now ’til the miracle of hyacinths.
In the meantime I am trying to answer the question (Acey’s): how do you hold your heart? Or maybe just asking it. Softly.
The collage challenge with Paris Collage Collective continues. This week: Shirley Chisholm.
More to come. I want to cut up seed catalogues and wreathe her head with flowers. In the collage above, the headstone of Harriett Jacobs served as reference to the long history of oppression, Jacobs being another Black woman who overcame so much.
Walked the dog. Did both crossword puzzles, more or less. And I’m back to editing after a hiatus — easier than going back to writing after a pause, but still a hurdle.
Fall routines in progress here. We put the hammock away. Brought the Christmas cacti inside. Started (the endless) raking.
It’s a meatloaf or chili kind of day, but I already cooked chicken thighs, so we’ll have them along with a bean salad featuring Rancho Gordo’s cassoulet bean.
I’ll admit to checking my phone EARLY today with a ghoulish anticipation. But, don’t get me wrong — I hope our president recovers. I really do. I live for the day when he is repudiated in a landslide election and then prosecuted to the full extent of the law.