Mostly because I’ve been finishing up my novel…which is just about done! (This revision, at least.) But I’ve also been sick, busy with work, going to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, etc…the stuff of life, basically.
First: the book! I’ve been chipping away at this revision in a slow but steady fashion. My last revision focused on getting all the story’s events in place; this one worked on strengthening certain elements that I discovered from the last pass that needed to be knitted into the novel a bit more cleanly. If there’s just one thing I’ve learned from screenwriting in grad school, it’s how architectural writing a story can be — how changes in one place can ripple out to unexpected places, so this pass was to take care of those strange but beautiful afterquakes.
I think I’ve got about one pass left, but for relatively minor things, although I could easily do passes devoted to landscape, to the best friend’s own metamorphoses, to 1988, to the charming, devilish bad seed. I’m starting to wonder, though, if my perfectionism is really just an excuse not to let go of working on this project in a weird way. When are you ever truly finished with a story? The idea of saying goodbye to these characters is kind of heartbreaking to me, honestly. I still think of them constantly like they are elusive, ghostly friends, and I wonder how they are doing beyond the timeframe of the story I’ve set them within.
Still, I’m elated to be getting to a point where the book can start making its way in the world and I can say confidently that I’ve done everything I could to make it the best it can be, outside of transplanting someone else’s storytelling brain in place of my own. (Brains I choose: Angela Carter, Alfred Hitchcock, Joss Whedon.) The one thing saving me from forever noodling are future books I want to write; I’ve been outlining and scratching out notes, and can’t really wait to get started.
Second: the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum! Some of you might be thinking, How nerdy! I suppose, yes, but the museum and library is actually a very rad, very cool place. It does that tricky thing so well, making history come alive and feel like a living, breathing thing. There is multimedia all over the place, from the audio installations in the section that compiles all the criticism that Lincoln incurred over the course of his presidency to the really amazing video and film presentations. There are great general exhibitions, as well as more in-depth auxiliary ones that branch off from the main museum. It all adds up to a place that handles the complexity of a historical figure incredibly well and is a great jumping-off point to learning the finer points of Lincoln’s political legacy — one that still has powerful ramifications even today.
And for fun, they had some really lovely clothing on display, worn by Mary Todd Lincoln and her D.C. social rivals:
I bought a mug, and a postcard. I drink my white tea with plum and honey from the mug, and the postcard sits next to my eyeglass prescription and a Rodarte hang tag on my dresser.
Finally, I’ve been doing the whole #30daysofcreativity, but most of my month has been focused on my novel. I do manage to do something creative a day, but there’s only so many pictures I can take of my novel on a computer screen, right? (See above.) I do manage to take a photo or two of other things, though:
But the one I wanted to take recently is not one that my cameras were equipped to handle: twilight, fireflies lighting up, a thunderstorm in the distance making the light mauve-grey and heavy, the birds chiming frantically. Some things remain in memory and can be summoned only through words.
Beautiful summer, lovelies.
I’m going to be releasing a chapter (or two!) from my novel soon, but not to the general public, where it’ll sit all defenseless and cold in the brutal ether of Google cache! It’ll go out on my “newsletter,” which actually doesn’t go out all that often and contains more confessional/musings than “news,” so do please sign up for it if you want to read a bit of my novel baby soon. It’s easier this way, I promise.