For nearly three years, I’ve been working on a new novel, and I’m pleased to say I completed it last week. Although it’s true that I’m the kind of writer who edits as he writes and rewrites as he edits, I still have an intense month or so ahead of me that I’ll call the Final Draft Edit.
I’m excited about this part of the process, but needless to say, it requires focus and ruthlessness in equal measure…focus to reveal the heart of the work and ruthlessness to cut the extraneous. The process starts with a careful reading and review by Nettie and then a stiff drink by me to help me accept, reject, digest, and assimilate her comments and get to work.
Once I’m finished with the edit, I’ll begin the marketing stage. First, I’ll reach out to a few agents who’ve expressed interest in seeing the book based on reading portions of my memoir, Passage From England or my novel, High Pocket. At the same time, I think it’s wise to search for new agents and/or editors who may be willing to take a look at this novel. This stage in the process likewise requires focus and perseverance, with an emphasis on perseverance fueled by blind faith and optimism.
The holiday season is also nearly upon us, a busy time for you and for me, a season of celebrations and parties, beginning with Halloween, followed quickly by Thanksgiving, and then the year’s big event for our family, our son, Miles’s wedding in early December to his beautiful fiancé Jaymie. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how much time and energy a wedding takes…and we’re not even the one’s planning this one! More mind space, more focus, more perseverance, etc.
I’ll bet you can guess where I’m headed with this post…A Quiet Interlude… Yes, I’m going to take a break from my regular Monday morning posts for the remainder of the year. Notice, I said “regular” posts. This gives me an out. I may write a post if I just can’t keep my shut about something that startles me, surprises me, awakens me or otherwise engages me, but I’m also releasing myself (and you) from the expectation of a new post each Monday.
I know I’m going to miss you, your comments, emails, and your support, and perhaps you’ll miss me a little as well. In the new year, we’ll meet again on Monday morning, probably January 5, 2014 or the 13th and we’ll begin another year together. I hope by then to have found a home for my new book currently titled The Family Garden. So folks, until January, I wish you an exciting and restful few months as the season unfolds.
For those of you who enjoy a poem now and again, I’ve posted below the first poem I memorized by the great English Romantic poet, John Keats, Ode To Autumn, published in 1820. The truth is, I think of Autumn as the “quiet interlude” in the seasons before the raucous weather of winter and the riotous songs of Spring.
I used to recite this poem to Nettie when we were newlyweds many seasons ago (43 seasons to be exact as of October 7th), and she was patient enough to listen to me though I knew poetry was not her favorite form of love-making. It still resonates with me and aptly captures the days ahead. It was, incidentally, a favorite of my mother’s as well.
Best wishes to you for the reasons you celebrate…Happy Hanukkah. Merry Christmas. Feliz Navidad. Happy Kwanzaa…and all the other ones I can’t spell or remember.
Ode To Autumn
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o’erbrimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river-sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
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