february summer

La Pensorosa, John William Godward

Absolutely beautiful day today! Can it get any better than getting paid on Thursday, having summer in February, and getting a long weekend! Wow.

So… met Janet for our monthly lunch and writerly discussion; the local library in her town just bought all of her books, and she’s got one more coming out this year, and her new publisher is reissuing her first book. Yay Janet!

Years ago, (hah! decades!) when I was a kid spending a year with Ma Stell, I remember finding a McGuffey Reader leftover from her school days. She’d been allowed to go as far as the fifth grade. Her father made her stop because he didn’t see the point of her going to school, especially ’cause she was a girl. She’d loved school. Ma Stell was my great aunt, one of eleven children; even in middle age, the memory of the day she wasn’t allowed to return to school remained painful. I can still hear the bitterness in her voice.

Rooting about in the closet in the guest bedroom, looking for something to read, I found this black book still with a bit of gilt on the embossed cover, published in the late 1890s. It had Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Edgar Allan Poe–although I don’t remember which Poe story. It might have been A Cask of Amontillado or The Pendulum, or The Black Cat, or it might have been Annabelle Lee or The Raven. There were no bookstores in our tiny bayou town (and I didn’t know there were such places as bookstores anyway) and school was closed for summer so no library. I spent whole afternoons reading and re-reading that book. It remained in that closet for decades after I’d gone away and on a return visit in the early eighties, I found it again. I should have taken it with me. The other book in that closet was “Curious George,” first edition. Should have taken that one too.

Anyway, I finished my scene by scene, chapter by chapter, “what I have; what I need” review of A Lamentation of Swans yesterday morning. Now I’m ready to type my notes into the spreadsheet and take a good long steady look at the state of the novel.


2 thoughts on “february summer

  1. I’m green with envy! The east coast has been hit by a lot of cold and nasty weather, and I’m getting tired of it! But I’m happy you have such terrific weather — enjoy it!!!!

    Congratulations on your progress with organizing your scenes and chapters. I wanted to mention the web site of a published author that I have visited many times. The author is Alicia Rasley and her site includes many articles on writing that were very helpful to me as I worked through my “how-to-bridge-the-middle” difficulties last year. I learned about Act II and how to tie things together through her articles. Not that I hadn’t read this stuff in a million other places or didn’t already know these ideas, but somehow through reading her articles it all clicked and finally made concrete sense for me. You can find the list of articles at:


    The article “Beginnings, Middles and Ends” was of particular help. It’s just a checklist of what each part of the story needs to accomplish. Below the lists are links to other articles on plotting, which are also available from the main list.

    Anyway, you can browse through these articles for days and days and days, thinking about your own novel, and it’s time well spent.

    Enjoy that great weather!

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