Saturday, January 09, 2010

Floreta and the Ohio

Just had a great editing session with the second Floreta story. I think it's ready to send out.

I have definitely decided that the Floreta stories will comprise the Ohio River novel, which I have been working on for four years.

The Ohio River novel has been tough going, not for lack of material but for lack of story. I've had touble finding the right characters and a central conflict that works. Everytime I'd get the narrative action to Pittsburgh, the story would die. I'd lose interest.

The only way I can stick to a project is to be curious about what will happen. I now have a character with a compelling problem, miles to go, and enlightenment waiting. Getting her to the end is going to be a lot of fun.

Now that I have two Floreta stories, essentially Chapts. 1 and 2 of the novel, I can see exactly how to structure the novel. I did an outline of it tonight (a very sketchy one) and was so excited because the entire project looks like something I can accomplish now.

I have all the writing I did at Provincetown and writing I've done since Provincetown. I just have to figure out how it all fits into my scheme.

The trip out west this summer showed me what I needed to do. A similar thing happened when I was working on my first novel. I floundered for many years until I took up weaving. We bought a floor loom and I learned how to use it, making rugs and scarves. It was such a meditative practice and it taught me that I am a weaver not just of yarn and cloth, I am a weaver stories, too. So, to emphasize this new awareness, I made my main character a weaver in that first book.

The western trek changed me: As a result of that trip, I understand so much more about the world. The unusual landscapes spoke to aspects of myself I had not formerly explored, had not known existed. So as I introduced the loom in my first book, I have brought the westward trek into my second. This provides structure and also meaning.

I start back to school Monday happy about what I accomplished over break. I hope to be able to keep writing, although I know this will be a very busy semester. Then I hope to make real progress this summer. It would be so good to finish the summer with a full first draft of the book: maybe I'm overreaching here. I guess I'm just excited. I realize the task of writing even one story is harder than it may first appear. There's no end to the trouble that a writer can run into. But I've hacked through some serious weeds the last week, and the view is much more clear ahead than it's ever been.

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Dreaming

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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken

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Fave Painting: Eden

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Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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