DEAR FRIENDS, 4/9/2012

This was a strange week.

Monday I was too sick with the cold I got a few days earlier to do anything except split wood and load the wood box, which had to be done.

Tuesday I was still plenty sick, but I spent the morning researching the living and eating habits of black bears. I never do any research for the poems, plays and novels I write, so this was a unique experience for me. I shouldn’t have done it. All those facts just confuse my fantasies. For a story like SAMOVAR AND ZEEMAHOOLAH the question is where does the story come down on the spectrum of reality to fantasy. I doubt I learned anything useful from my research.

Wednesday I spent most of the day sleeping trying to get up the energy to drive the hour and a half to the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, VT, for my reading from HAPPY LIFE that night. I made it, there was a good crowd and the reading went well. During the Q and A, a woman, whom I did not know, observed that even though my recent writing had taken a turn toward an almost total focus on growing old and dying, my writing about those subjects was much lighter, brighter and not nearly as dark, as my earlier writing, meaning JUDEVINE. Once again, as has happened often before, a stranger had made an observation that blew my mind. I think she’s right. And her observation had never occurred to me before.

Thursday I dropped everything and began work on proofing the galleys for PARK SONGS. I spent all day on that project, and Friday too. I emailed the instructions for corrections back Friday evening.

It’s a new world out there. The “galleys” I read were a PDF of the book on my computer. I printed it out and read a hard copy. I’m still that much an old fashioned writer. I made corrections with pencil and then typed them up into an email and returned them to the publisher and designer. One thing to think about is the amount of paper–and therefore trees and chemicals used in making paper–saved this way.

Saturday I took it easy. I split wood and loaded the wood box again. It’s been cold here this week. And I rested up for another hour plus drive to Hinesburg, VT, for another reading from HAPPY LIFE that evening. I’ve been so touched this week by the responses to HAPPY LIFE at both readings. One woman on Saturday night said, “You articulate my life.”

Sunday was Easter. When I was a child I spent this entire weekend from Good Friday to Easter Morning in church or thinking about Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s not just a new world out there for publishing. My own life has radically changed also.

Today I hope to return to work on SAMOVAR AND ZEEMAHOOLAH.