Dear Friends,

The Holidays are upon everyone, which means for me my work on BROKEN WING has taken a back seat to all the Yuletide preparations, parties and so forth. Maybe I’ll get back to it next year, which means next week.

Two weeks ago Kevin O’Connor from the Rutland (VT) Herald asked me to write a short little something about “suggested first
steps for a fresh start in 2012.” Here’s what I came up with:

The first step for a fresh start, in my opinion, begins with frugality.
Commit yourself in 2012 to living on less: less and less and less.
It’s right there in our heritage: use it up, wear it out, make it do
or do without. And don’t forget the “do without” part especially.

I, personally, can’t wait for all this to be over and the New Year to arrive. I wrote to a Jewish friend earlier today, “This is the toughest time of year for me. I get so down in the dumps it’s terrible. I just hang on and hope I make it to the New Year. And I wonder if Jews get as depressed at this season as I do. Maybe if I were a Jew instead of a backslid Christian, I’d be able to handle this time of year better, although, given my current state of mind, I doubt it.

In spite of all of that, I hope everyone out there is having a good holiday. For the Christians among us, Merry Christmas yesterday.

Until next year, I remain . . .

Sincerely Yours, David Budbill
26 December 2011

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Dear Friends,

As promised, I sent the manuscript for PARK SONGS off to Tod Davies at Exterminating Angel Press this week, then turned immediately to my rewrite of BROKEN WING about which I talked last week.

My friend Katherine Williams, who lives in Washington, D.C., was kind enough to read and comment on a version of BROKEN WING I’d sent her in March of 2009. I am finally getting around to responding to her comments, making changes and working in other ways on the new version of this story. I first drafted BROKEN WING in 2001, which means I’ve been working on this story off and on for more than ten years. Typical.

I’m in the process of rewriting BROKEN WING these days. I’m incorporating most of Katherine’s corrections and changes and I’m also Babar-izing the story. In other words, I’m trying to put all the verbs in the present tense, just as they, usually, are in the Babar stories. I like the immediacy of the present tense. It changes the feeling of the story enormously.

It turns out this is an incredibly complicated thing to attempt. A lot of difficulties arise. It’s a slow process. I’m struggling through it now. I’m still at the beginning. And when I’m done, I’m not sure I’m going to like it, and if that’s true, then I’m going to have to go back and redo everything all over again.

I want to get BROKEN WING rewritten before January 1st–which I can see now is not going to happen–so that after the first of the year, I can go to work on SAMOVAR AND ZEEMAHOOLAH and spend the whole winter on that story.

It’s finally cold here. It’s 3 above zero as I write this on Sunday morning. Our woodstove is cranking away and we are toasty warm here in the house. Unfortunately we have only a small amount of snow, maybe an inch. We need a lot more than that–a couple of feet would be good–to insulate everything from our typical mid-winter cold.

Until next week, I remain . . .

Sincerely Yours, David Budbill
19 December 2011

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Dear Friends,

We have moved into December and still the weather remains relatively warm, from the 20s at night to sometimes as high as the 40s during the day. And still no snow but a dusting occasionally. Climate change at work, I fear.

I’m in the process of reading over the various e-book versions of HAPPY LIFE, which Copper Canyon Press will launch soon. I mistakenly said, by the way, in ablog recently that the e-book versions of HAPPY LIFE were already out; they are not, but soon will be.

At the same time that I’m doing that, I’m reading through yet again the manuscript for PARK SONGS which will be out about this time next year and which I must deliver to the publisher of Exterminating Angel Press soon. Exterminating Angel Press, by the way, is an allusion to the Luis Bunuel movie called Exterminating Angel.

My wife, Lois, and I went to Montreal Friday and yesterday in order for Lois to check in with her gallery there, to visit two young friends, hang out, eat and buy food and visit with our painter friend Susan Scott, one of Canada’s most prominent artists. Montreal is a scant two and a half-hours from here and we have taken to going up more often than we used to. It’s a great break from our work-a-day routine and Montreal is a wonderful city, like none other in North America.

Fondly, David Budbill

4 December 2011

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