December 25th, 2009


Seasonal Notes

--Ouest on Broadway and 83rd is a thoroughly lovely restaurant.  You've got to love a place that offers roast partridge and comice pears as an entree on Christmas Eve.

--It's nice to have snow on the ground on Christmas Eve, even week-old snow, even in New York, where it tends to turn un-snow-like colors relatively quickly.

--Old friends are a gift and a blessing.  I had lunch with Eleanor, who is (if you remember from my Maine posts) my best friend from first grade.  She's usually much too busy to have lunch with herself, let alone me, but she had today off, and we sat in an almost empty restaurant and ate cheese and spinach dip and drank tea and talked for two hours about Life, the Universe, and Everything.  I have new close friends, with whom I actually have a lot more in common than Eleanor and Kay (who is the other old school friend I see reguarly now I've moved back to the city), but there are conversations you can have with people who remember both your parents (now deceased) and was an angsty adolescent the same time you were that you just can't have with anybody else.  I am extremely lucky to have two of them.

--The 1947 Miracle on 34th Street is a genuinely good movie.  And Natalie Wood was a good little actress.  And I remember Macy's looking just like that shot of the interior from the mezzanine balcony when I was a little girl, and am sad that it doesn't any more.

--They really do sell all those Christmas trees that have been propped along the sidewalks for the past four weeks, even the whopping big ones.  Which is a considerable relief.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it.  And to all, a good night.

Writing redhead

My eyes were bigger than my stomach

No, I didn't finish "The Mystery of Cwmlech Manor."  No, I didn't get the proposal finished for The Dragon of Wall Street.

I am a wanker and a lazy bollocks and a dilettante.  The last time I was in Sanibel, I drafted three full chapters of a novel and planned out much of the rest.

It's true that the last time we were in Sanibel, (two years ago, if I remember correctly) we were there for a week, in our own unit, and I was under deadline for a novel I'd been working on for several months.  The weather was beautiful, everybody was out  frolicking by the pool, conversations took place mostly over meals, which Ellen's mother mostly cooked. 

It is also true that this time, we were there for 4 full days, sharing with Ellen's parents, and did most of the cooking.  The weather was inclement--chilly, grey, windy, nice for walks on the beach (wearing a couple of layers and long pants) but not sitting outside in.  Which meant we all sat in the living room and did our thing.  Heaven knows I can write perfectly comfortably in the company of others, but it's a little more challenging if they like sharing the good parts of whatever they're reading.  And we were there to Be With The Family, after all.  And I like The Family, especially Ellen's (now) college-age nephews, who we took out to lunch twice, and her college-age twin nieces, who are both in journalism programs and fun to talk to.

And we slept.  Heaven, how we slept.  If you get up at 11 and go to bed 12 hours later, that doesn't leave much of the day, even if you haven't got other things to do.  Like (wince) reading three trashy mysteries (all of which I enjoyed thoroughly, thank you, even if I don't recall the titles or authors just now, except for Alexander McCall Smith one--an Isabel Dalhousie book I liked a lot).

Enough whining.  What did I actually manage to accomplish?  2 new scenes (6 new pages), smooth out a couple of rough transitions, and work out the story's denouement on a long walk down the beach with Ellen.  Which ain't (come to think of it) nothing, even if it's not what I'd planned on.

And what have we learned from this experience, ducklings?

Sometimes you need a rest.  Sometimes you just need to let up for a few days and be an actor in your life, even if it's not an emergency, even what your lines consist of "That's cool," and "Tell me more," and even reading the good bits of your trashy mystery aloud to your mother-in-law and having a giggle over  family culture with your sister-in-law.  And sometimes you need to try and not feel guilty about it, since guilt in this context only makes you feel bad to no useful purpose.

I'm at peace with the first part of this lesson.  I'm working on the second part.