It’s still in the five o’clock hour here in Pittsburgh. I am waiting for the coffee to perk after a night where I continually dreamt I was trying to get to a Patrick Sweany concert but obstacle after obstacle kept getting in my way. By the end of the dream I was so desperate to get to the concert …and suddenly I found myself without shoes, tripping through a snow storm, so very close to the concert hall, and then my alarm rang.
I hope this isn’t predictive of the upcoming two days.
I am leaving for a retreat for work…have to pick up a colleague in a couple of hours and then she and I will be on our way…the writer (her) and the media relations manager (me) off to the mountains to hang out with scientists. I was – am – looking forward to it but I worked late last night as well and I am not the best this early in the morning…I would do better with a retreat that started at noon, say.
Anyway, I won’t be around for the fessing tomorrow so I thought I’d post a bit early!
On the novel-writing: I am this close to finishing act 1 of my novel – I fully expect of complete it over the weekend. I’m at around 109 pages. Once I finish it I need to sort out the major events in the next act, although I have a basic idea of what’s happening, and there may be some longer pauses as I do the basic research necessary to move the story forward. I don’t want to stop too much – shitty first draft, and all of that – but there are places I will need to pause and learn a bit before moving forward. This week it writing was fun again – I introduced a character as an adult and I really enjoyed creating him. I wrote a scene where two of the brothers go deer hunting that I like. And I think act 2 is going to be really exciting to write…I’m going to be able to do a lot of backstory, write about when Ben and Anna first fell in love – I’m looking forward to it.
On blogging – While I would love to blog more, and read more, I’ve fallen into what I consider a manageable rhythm of writing here and reading blogs and it’s one that I’m comfortable with.
On reading – A couple of weeks ago I finished Christopher Pike’s Falling which, while the literary quality was quite lacking, I thought beautifully plotted and unpredictable. I also really liked the ending and the fact his characters kept making the same mistakes over and over – like real life. I’m continuing my nonfiction reading with Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood – some chapters I have fallen absolutely in love with and others I’m sort of “meh” about – which is typical of my relationship to Dillard. I know she’s an American classic and God, she does write beautifully, but she sometimes loses me. I’m also reading Jeffery (Jeffrey? the book is in the bedroom and S. is still asleep) Lent’s A Peculiar Grace and oh my God, can the man write. I think the equivalent action of my first act, he puts in the first chapter of his novel. This book is definitely un-put-downable and I can’t wait for the weekend to finish it. Review (or rather, off the cuff reaction, plus excerpts) to come.
On work writing – I asked for, and received, a new beat to cover at work! Gastroenterology/hepatology! I mean, to be fair, nobody else is that interested but for me? The LIVER? The PANCREAS? The delicate, oft-ignored organs essential to life? Plus BOWEL DISEASES? My proverbial cup runneth over. So now I am on urology, cancer (my main, most time-consuming beat) and gastro/hep. LOVES. IT. As for work writing, I could kick this job in the ass if only I didn’t have to go on retreats, to dinners and luncheons, and a million meetings a day. Seventy-five percent of my day is supposed to be writing but unfortunately that work gets done around the edges of other things. I need to work on finding time to disappear to work on my writing for the job, in a blackberry-less, disconnected sort of way.