This is a photo of my parents taken when they attended the 1970 Superbowl in New Orleans; it appeared in the local paper, which I think was called the New Orleans Gazette. I love the caption. Mr. B actually still owns this elegant knit cap; it lives in a basket in their mudroom in the Berkshires.
I’ve been doing some research into American fashion of 1970 (bit of an extended oxymoron, perhaps), as it bears relevance to one of the characters in my novel. I’ve always loved research of this sort – I did some for my Chicago article and learned a bit more about the Great Fire of 1872 and the curse of the Billygoat Tavern. It was one of my favorite aspects of school, going to the library to check out stacks of books on a topic, or Xeroxing articles, or lever-pulling through Microfiche. I imagine the current generation of paper-writers does their research on line, as I now do. It is so much easier, obviously, though there is no quality filter.
I spoke today with one of my writing mentors, a gentleman who has been at it a lot longer than I have. He validated my writer’s insecurity and procrastination techniques, agreeing that there are many, many things to do other than write. I also heard from a college friend (Hi, JCS!) who has been reading this blahg and who wrote encouraging words about my ability to finish my ****ing novel.
Knowing that people read my words makes me want to keep writing and to keep getting better at it.
A dear friend who, incidentally, “married well”, used to say that he fears his epitaph will read, “He married well.” He’s since become a much more productive and successful person than he felt he was at the time. So that my epitaph will read more than, “She started a lot of projects”, I am determined to see this one through.
With each new page I write or edit for the novel, I make tiny changes that require me to go back to previous chapters and change accordingly. It’s an exhaustive process, and I’m not certain I used “exhaustive” correctly. I have been reading lots of advice from writers on the process and the basic rule is to just keep writing. And to get a draft out without worrying about editing or polishing. I have a very hard time with this – I am an editor and I spare myself no mercy. But I understand this advice – and so off I go again, back to Chapter Three.
Thanks for reading.