page 81

…working on the two-pages-a-day, 5 a.m. wake up…stuck on page 81 for too long.

Some days ago I pulled out more pages than wrote, which is part of the process. The following day, I did research. (Fiction writers reading will chuckle: right, research.) The following day, I worked hard on the picturebook I was re-writing. And again, the next day. Novel momentum broken.

Yesterday, I sat and wrote, working on page 57, which is what’s happening with the first draft of this story–so much working with one character, moving to another, working on p. 36, then 62, back to 57. But at the bottom of the page, it continued to read “page 57 of 81.” I swear it went on to read “page 58 of 81.”

Then there it was: “page 59 of 82.” I finished the paragraph. Added a thought, and was done for the day, exhausted.

Today, what will happen? Perhaps I’ll find more to cut than to add. How attached am I to those little numbers? Too mechanical? Writing has its own set of self-deluding mind-games. But I’m no more attached to the numbers than Rita Mae Brown, setting her pages to the side of her typewriter, hoping for affirmation from her cat, hoping the feline will sit on the pages and thereby approve.

All right. Two pages, coming up.


Emmett and I are agreed: that was the best Halloween ever. And in no small part, because of the weather! The afternoon of the 30th was wet and windy, and made us a bit nervous…

The day was the clearest, brightest.  I was compelled to go outside and work in the yard in the afternoon, and the sun on my back was HOT. I mowed the lawn for the last time, and shut up the mower. I cut dead things out, and had a glimpse of green hiding away at the surface of the ground, for next year. And once again, I was struck by how, through this particularly difficult summer, the weather has been a friend. I felt a deep sense of gratitude for that.

Then the moon came out–full!  PA310001

Perfect for the night. With Daylight Savings happening a week later now, it’s still light until after 6.  But we were out as soon as it was dark, and the smell of the evening was there: the fireworks (a big Yes to those Deltans brave enough to light up and away in spite of the bylaw–we can’t have Halloween without fireworks!), the crunchy smell of newly fallen leaves, the earthy, composty, mushroomy…altogether with the smell of autumn flowers and over-ripe fruit. Glorious.

A friend asked where the oohs and aahs were, with the backyard fireworks. Maybe folks are still afraid to do that. Last year, there was almost no fireworks at all, except for the odd young teen with LadyFingers snapping behind a school. This year, folks realized that the cost of a fine is half the cost of a permit, and they went to the nearest Muni and bought some works. Next year, let’s ooh and aah!

Another blessing of the weather and the yard: PB010001this morning I–once again–went out and picked my fall-bearing heritage raspberries. Enough for a bowl of cereal. Actually, they’re not even mine: they’re the neighbour’s, and she asked me a year ago spring, if I’d mind if a few slipped under the fence and chose to grow on my side. I should be so lucky. Never too late for Thanksgiving.

(moon photo by Martin Hatlelid)