Seriously? Ten days? Well, Stuff Happened, and doesn’t it always. Into the Fire had been dashing along happily but suddenly planted its feet and refused to move. Part of it was lack of sleep. Part of it was…”I don’t like my beginning. Do it over.” I explained gently and firmly that we do not do that kind of change until we have come to the end. “YOU may not, but I want a new beginning and I want it now!” Followed by a cascade of beginnings, as if from a catalog of beginnings, and a whiny voice in my inner ear.
I attempted to go on from where I was (interesting scene, heading somewhere definite) and the whiny voice got louder. There’s this thing about books…they do have a mind of their own that feels (though obviously it cannot be) completely apart from the Author’s mind. It’s good that they have a mind of their own, but not when they regress to the toddler “I don’t WANNA!” stage of development. If an adult suddenly regresses, something’s very wrong in that person’s world…and the same is true of books. It can be important to listen to them, encourage them to talk about the problem (however ridiculous it seems to the Author. Or, in the case of persons, their therapist.)
It is Novel’s opinion that the original beginning is a) out of sequence temporally and b) not active enough. Novel finally confessed this morning that since Cold Welcome begins with Ky in a spacecraft uttering thoughts, nothing in the first chapter of Into the Fire should have Ky in an airplane uttering thoughts, even if that’s the right temporal order (“NO IT’S NOT,” shouts the book into my ear. “It starts with UMMMPH!” Which, I point out with an entire beach towel stuffed into Novel’s mouth, would be a huge spoiler and we also do not do spoilers.) There. Novel is muffled for the moment. I do understand about the repetition of circumstances even though… (spoiler alert! spoiler alert!) All right. NO SPOILERS HERE, safe to read.
The book wants a new beginning. I tried several rearrangements yesterday. Book is “meh” about most of them and I can’t stand the one it doesn’t exactly like but isn’t vocal about. It is not time to write new beginnings; it is time to get to the [redacted] end. Book was not happy that I went back and read the post here about the trains. It still feels perfectly justified in having been bullying me and the branch-line train. I still feel it should LISTEN to me. It still feels I should listen to IT.
I’m going to make bread. Pounding on dough should enable me to listen to the book while working off the frustration of Book Being Stubborn (this is not, by the way, any form of writer’s block. I can write just fine. It’s a typical book-related problem that shows up in many books-in-progress and working through such things is a normal (not pathological) part of the writing life. It’s like the thing in horse training when you realize that the horse is now picking up canter from halt on the left lead perfectly, but still doesn’t take a smooth canter depart from a trot, let alone walk or halt, on the right lead. Predictable that if you want a fully supple horse, you have to train both sides, from the simplest exercise to the most advanced, and predictable that books will throw up certain problems at certain points in their development. )
I’m still going to make bread. It’s that kind of day; it’s been that kind of week, and falling out the door of a friend’s house onto her concrete porch, SPLAT, did not make it easier. (I’m fine. Just bruises. Thanks to hormone therapy and some experience in how to fall SPLAT without serious injury most of the time.) Tomorrow is Advent 4 and next Sunday of course is Christmas, which I will be celebrating with waffles & maple syrup, the traditional Christmas breakfast of my childhood. Between now and then, much needs to be done. Bread is part of it.
May everyone who celebrates any holiday in this season have a wonderful celebration thereof, with those friends/family/others you most want to spend time with.
11 thoughts on “Funny How Time Slips Away….”
Ky in an airplane, uttering thoughts? Didn’t you post a few months ago that the book starts back in the past with people lurking sneakily in a back garden?
Viewed from east of the pond, you cheated over Christmas by having your big turkey dinner a month early. We are getting ready for ours.
I wonder, does that make our birds a month meatier, or a month less tender?
Richard: Yes, I did, and I don’t like the new section and will return (eventually) to the back garden. On holiday food: we associate turkey so much with Thanksgiving that other meat are more traditional (in some families; it depends) on Christmas. For instance, Meals on Wheels (which brings a hot meal to housebound elderly every day) always serves turkey and Thanksgiving and ham on Christmas. My husband’s family used to do turkey on both. Families with a hunter member often serve venison on Christmas, ranch families often have beef, some may have chicken. It’s whatever your family is used to. Once my mother tried a goose, because Dickens, but one time trying to pluck and cook a goose in South Texas was enough. (Her boss had given us a goose he shot. We had goose down all over the house–a puff here, a puff there.
Anyway. In our house we do turkey (and ham if the crowd is big enough) for Thanksgiving, and a ham at Christmas, with the ham bone going into the New Year’s beans. (Southern US thing: eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s brings good luck. It was a marketing ploy, of course, but it’s a tradition. Except I think mixed beans taste better than just black-eyed peas, so I make a big pot of bean soup with 6-8 kinds of beans in it, with the bone from the Christmas ham. Dice an onion, add a bay leaf, soak 4 cups of mixed beans overnight, put the soaked beans on in the morning, and let it simmer away for hours. Red beans, black beans, white beans, pinto beans (beige and darker beige) and Anasazi beans (white with chocolate-brown spots) and the black-eyed peas (which are really small beans with a black “eye”) at a minimum. Stick-to-your-ribs stuff.
My religious holiday cooking has declined since singing reduces the time for cooking on the day (Easter, for instance–I’m at the church rehearsing and/or singing for almost 7 hours. Not much energy left for cooking when I get home in early afternoon.) Age is also a factor. So after crawling out of bed in mid-late morning (sang a night service Christmas eve) I made the glaze for the ham, slathered it on, and stuck the ham in the oven, then cut up and boiled the potatoes to be done when the ham was. That and a salad did it. (And I went back to bed and slept another 2.5 hours.) I had a tablecloth on the table, nice plates, the good flatware. Most I could manage. We had cold ham and potatoes for supper. Tomorrow I make bread again and a special treat for son (we are not supposed to eat special treats until certain test results improve.)
Neither, the birds are just hatched a month later. 😉
You’ve said you’d be in and out of here less frequently. I figured the rush between holidays had something to do with it. Nice to hear that all those fencing lessons on how to fall and avoid a touch paid off in later years away from writing life.
Well, at least we know Ky got out of the cold ocean. That’s a little bit of a spoiler.
Airplane? Is she reminiscing about the flight back home after getting kicked out of the academy? That sounds to me like it’s entirely in line with the grand arch.
Daniel: Yes, the holidays had a lot to do with less time here, but so did the realization that I have a required-by-tax-authority report to write and turn in before February, and a different report to write for something else, and all that while I’m trying to pull the book’s conclusion together. I need more arms/hands/and most of all HOURS. (There’s also a certain frustration factor: all my close friends around my age who are NOT writers are gleefully talking about how now that they’re retired they had time for A, B, C, and isn’t that wonderful–and it is, but I’m not retired. Younger friends…three to six years younger…are throwing off the harness. And I’m still dragging the wagon full of load around. They want me to join them in this or that, and keep acting surprised when I remind them (probably too often) that I’m still working.) But of course, for those who aren’t writers, it’s hard for a lot of people to grasp that writing books is actually work. We don’t just “crank them out” easily, without effort. And it’s work I love, which makes a huge difference.
The lessons on falling weren’t from fencing, but from having a roommate in college who was a skydiver and taught several of us about parachute landing falls, and from practicing dismounts from horses in motion. We used to jump off the furniture in our floor’s “lounge” (to the consternation of those just coming out of the elevator) but it’s turned out to be quite useful over time, even though at this point I’d be a little leery of doing an intentional fall onto hard ground just in case. Reinforcement came later as well from working in rural EMS, where all the broken wrists resulted from someone sticking out a hand to catch themselves from a fall. It’s hard not to unless you’ve practiced the contrary behavior of pulling the arms in.
Don’t fall, that is the first thing my doctor asks me.
Classic story start
“I dreamed of Mandalay last night.”
It was a dark and stormy night.
Cold up here in NH.
*thinks back to a snippet*
It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that an officer in possession of stars must be in want of a staff.
You are so right. Thank you.
JOnathan: Record morning temp in Austin TX for Christmas morning–9 degrees F higher than previous record. Afternoon high not a record (3rd highest, I think the guy said) but it was WARM. About what we used to get over 300 miles south, where I grew up.
Everyone have a good holiday season
Working on it here. Sang at the 8 pm on Christmas Eve, not the late service (and a good thing too–even the 8 pm wore me out completely. 4 anthems, plus hymns, plus the moving around.) Very warm in the 70s F, though this year the AC was working in the church building (church packed with people, plus all the extra candles–and the stained glass windows don’t open. Last year it was hotter inside because the AC was broken, and people actually got sick; one fainted.) But I was soaked with sweat by the end. Rest and relaxation today. I have a new book and four new CDs and a new flannel shirt that I couldn’t wear because it was so warm.
happy to see you have survived the festive season, maybe the plot daemon will go on holiday in the new year and let you have a much needed break. It was 37cel here on Christmas day.