So I'm working on Chapter Two of my new manuscript and I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I don't know what's going to happen next. But one thing I do know: I am having fun.
Sometimes, writing feels to me like mining. I'm in this cave and I can't see too far ahead, but I am digging away, and getting somewhere... at least I hope I am.
I'll admit it's a bit of a weird way to work. My plan, at this point (plans do change), is to write the first three chapters in this mining-sort-of-way. Then I'm going to let my editor at Orca have a look. If she likes it (I'm hoping she will), she'll probably ask me for a chapter outline. Then I'll get grumpy. (Can you tell I've been through this process before?) But then I'll stop being grumpy and I'll figure out the darned plot (loosely anyhow). But as I've said, all this is subject to change, so if you want to know what happens, check this blog over the next few weeks to find out.
These days, if I'm not writing or puttering in the garden or making supper, I'm on the couch reading. Did I tell you that I read Tim Wynne-Jones's novel The Maestro on the train home from London, Ontario last week? Most enjoyable! And I even underlined a line from it for you, dear blog reader since I'm always thinking of you!
Here goes: "A cold, thin, distant sound as sweet as blackberries before they're quite ripe." In this sentence, Burl, the novel's narrator, is describing beautiful music he hears in the distance. What I like most about the line is how Tim combines two senses: sound and taste. The link is that both the sound of the music and the taste of the blackberries are sweet. Lovely, no? For me, reading something wonderful is an important part of the writing process: it inspires me to reach higher, to stretch further in my own work. Hope whatever you are doing, you're reaching and stretching, too!
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Monique...I am a 62-year old Irish Catholic 'adolescent' who attended your interview at Thomas More last evening. I found your story wonderfully sad, and healing. (Nurses use words like this!) . I am not Jewish, but I was born at JGH. I am not Jewish, but my first boyfriend was. I am not Jewish but...we all are, aren't we? Bravo to you for showing us that.
I also loved the reverent manner that you used when speaking of your target audience...teens give us two great gifts - energy and curiosity. I can never get enough!
I have also taken some creative writing courses in my past life (youth!), and would love a chance to chat with you about this, if ever you have the time and/or inclination.
Thank you again for a great moment in time...
Dear Monique: I just finished reading your essay "Hug it out, class" in today's Globe and Mail, and I decided that I immediately had to find some way of communicating with you. You may or may not remember me .... you used to come and wait for your big brother, Michael, at the door of Room 22 at Westminster School - my classroom! You were very shy and very sweet, and your brother was incredibly responsible and devoted to you. He was also one of my all time favourite students - and I have taught a lot of kids in a lot of schools! I also adored your mother who would write me wonderful notes - in rhyme. I loved chatting with her when she came to school, and I think we even arranged for Michael to take guitar lessons from my sister at some point.
I spent five wonderful years teaching at Westminster and then moved to Toronto. I always regretted not keeping in touch with your family - I think there may have been one or two letters after I left. I guess "life" got in the way, but now, having read your article, I would like so much to know how you are all doing.
I stopped working for many years when my kids were young, but then lucked into a job here in Toronto when I was ready to teach again, and thoroughly enjoyed my second career. I have been retired for about 5 years, but your essay really struck a chord. I always loved the first day of school ... there was such excitement and a feeling of anticipation and hope mixed with a little angst and wondering what the next ten months would bring. The last day of school, however, was always a mixed bag, and you described the feelings so well.
Please pass on my best wishes to Michael. I hope, too, that your parents are still well and active, and also your sister whose name I can't recall. I would love to "reconnect" if that is okay with you/them. In the meantime, thank you for that lovely essay ... and now I am determined to read some of your books! Cheers! Louise "Miss Mayerovitch" Elkin
Hi Maureen and Louise,
I've been away for a couple of days... how nice to come home and find your messages. I'm going to write to both of you in separate e-mails. One of the great things about writing is getting to connect with other people, like you two. Louise, I've forwarded your message both to my parents and to my brother. Fun!