Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thank you!

The scene on the shore opposite my house

Thank you!
For just being out there.
For all your wonderful comments.
For the support.
For the cheering squad.
For the writerly buddies I have out there in blogland.

Just thank you!

PS. They hit bogland and marsh next door when they dug and dug so they decided to drain. And drain. It involved moving tons of earth, tons of rock. Disruption, noise, earthen brown dust everywhere. And the inn on the other side of them and me on this side? Not one word of apology or "excuse us." Old merchant family, hat-tipping peasants.

Oh did I mention the noise? Dozers, trucks, scraping, pounding, lifting, moving.

It's hard to believe I came here for peace. And some days are very much worse than others with the constant banging and chugging. It reminds me a lot of when I lived next door to a railway station. But noisier. I still jump when one of the trucks bangs against the rocks as it offloads another load onto the shore.

On the good side - weather has been wonderful, Gonzolo ignored us and the book is coming together. And I have homemade pea-soup on the stove. And earbuds. And I'm booked to give a writing workshop.

And my nerves? Edgy. If I could have afforded it I would have gone away for a week or two to finish the book. Anywhere quiet and restful, like downtown Toronto.

I plan to read YOUR blogs.

Very soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Check In

OK. So there's a first reader delay of this novel to the end of the month. October 31st it will be ready. Today went well. Some days haven't. Noise. Diggers to be specific. Land that has lain fallow beside my property is being clear cut and shovelled away. Huge tunnels are being burrowed all the way to China. Ready for a monster home and monster shed. I grieved the trees. Hundreds of them massacred. There's no land use legislation out here on the edge of the Atlantic. You can do what you want. Changes need to be made. Obviously. And I will make them. Or, you know, die trying.

And the noise level? My dears. Some days were worse than others up there in the Tigeen. But today, I keep focussing on today, it was a very good day. I flayed the prior challenges, got ruthless with excess, trimmed the dialogue, expanded other sections. Cried. I cry at the sad parts. Always. And croon along with Ella to the happies.

Now I'm reviewing all the notes, all the workshop scribbles, all the annotations I made on the public readings I did of the chapters. This is the dog work. And the little envelopes and index cards with quick jottings made on planes and trains and boats and in cafes? Use. Discard. It is chaotic, this final stage.

And I do hope the noise will abate next door. It is not conducive to scholarly and intense perusal. Ha!

Thanks for hanging in there with me. Especially to my first readers.

I think to myself: If I didn't write I'd go mental.


My alternate universe keeps me sane.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Taking Down the Scaffolding Part 2

See Part 1 here.

By scaffolding I mean memories. Pieces of the memory banks no longer shared with the participants. And my friend Allen held a chunk of joint memories.

I met him and his family through his sister, Judy, a dear friend. But I'll back up even further on the lives of the Butons (last name changed to protect their anonymity).

They were staunch Quebecers. And in that gifted way of most Quebecers spoke both English and French fluently.

The first tragedy in their family befell them when Judy was 13, Allen was 15 and their baby brother, Michel, was 3. Their father went off to hunt in the woods one Saturday morning and killed himself in their cabin with his own shotgun. No note. No reason. Just a legacy of puzzlement and grief and anger and despair.

Their mother, Cecile, had to go outside the home and find work just about immediately as Papa had left them virtually bankrupt.

Allen worked part-time to help the family and also attended college for a business degree and then started up his own small company.

He then married his high school sweetheart who had sustained him during the crisis of his father's death.

There was an economic meltdown in Quebec in the eighties (most Quebec based English businesses and head offices moved to Ontario during that period due to the enforcement of the French language by the language police).

It broke the Butons' hearts to leave their birth province but they did. The impact of so many corporations abandoning Quebec for Ontario put Allen's own small business (an import/export) in jeopardy so they "jumped ship". Successfully as it turned out.

To be continued.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Taking Down the Scaffolding.

I don't know whether anyone else feels this way. Like any time a friend dies there's another piece of their scaffolding taken down?

Maybe I'm weird that way? But I imagine that if I started out as a building, mine would be a higgledy-piggledy one, bright colours, odd windows with a bit of a tower (for reading) and a grand piano in the foyer with a solitary lamp. I saw a hall like that once when I'd run Forest Hill at night in Toronto near where I lived. I loved that house with its stark meaningful space in an otherwise busy home.

I have lots of doors, French doors, a half-door like an Irish cottage, a garden door with a shelf. a storm door like the real one I have out front, especially built for me by a craftsman recently. For battening down the hatches.

My building is always under construction but never finished. Held together by beautiful scaffolding. Mixed colours, blue, red, purple, bright silly green, laughing yellow.

And when there's a death of a loved one, a chunk of scaffolding detaches and there's a slight upheaval in the building, maybe a tilt to the right or the left or a subsidence. A couple of bricks falling down or a window popping out.

My scaffolding just had a major chunk taken out of it. No, not my Irish friend. This one took me from left field and I'm still processing.

I will write about him when my breath comes back and I can do him justice. He would never have thought he was a hero. But he was to me.

My building's at a weird angle.

I need to take time to shore up the foundations.