July 10, 2012-July 27, 2012

Well, there went the good intentions in all areas. Again. I meant to keep up better than this, though I have kept up doing my poem a day for a year and a half so far. But between writing and a social life (such as it is), working in the garden, major walks, keeping up with reading as well, there goes the neighborhood. Or the journal-hood.

Books:

That novel I was almost finished writing? Centaur Field. More good intentions undermined. I had a nagging, nagging bad feeling about it. Showed all but the last two chapters which weren’t yet written but vaguely outlined to my beta reader Debby and she hit me between the eyes with exactly the problems that had been nagging me but I was too bound up in finishing the book to listen to myself. So it’s back to square one (am up to chapter 10 now) and along the way I had to resurrect a major character I’d killed off in the first few pages, make him the center of attention and, eventually, the turning point for the solution of the plot. Lots of plot changes necessitated of course. AND I moved the entire thing back to the 1960s, with thalidomide babies, Beatles, Mr. Ed on tv and more. Why? Because my plot and its major secret made no sense in a world of the Internet, cell phones, the Cloud, where no secret can be kept.

In the meanwhile, I was also doing page proofs on B.U.G., copyedits on Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts, small revision stuff on end notes of Grumbles from the Forest, small edits on flap copy for several spring books, sending on requests to agents for a puppet show using The Witch Who Wasn’t, and a movie request for Except the Queen, trying to work out a list of possible illustrators for Thunder Underground. Worked with Heidi getting a first really good draft of First Day in Monster K for the illustrator. Got first copies of The Emily Sonnets (gorgeous), and pdfs of Rumbling Monsters, Tumbling Monsters. Also continuing small edits on Ekaterinoslav. Plus I wrote most of the talk I will be giving (a new talk called Soul Mates) in Duluth in October and began the death by a thousand cuts for the lecture I will be giving at St Andrews University.

How do I keep going? I find it all invigorating. And also because I believe this, which I wrote after reading something in Terri Windling’s wonderful blog, The Drawing Board:

 

Words Are Like Moles

Tunneling, always tunneling,

into the deep, the dark places,

the worm larders, the velvet night

where breath is moist and soft

and quiet is complete,

where there are no traces of light

until we poets hang the stars.

 

©2012  Jane Yolen. All rights reserved

 

And so I will continue to have the privilege and the chore of hanging stars to light the way for readers as long as I am able. And the hard work of it, too. Damn lights can be heavy, you know.

 

Play:

So what else did I do, besides dinners and teas with friends? Well, my friend Milbre Burch, magnificent storyteller, and her family were here for three (rainy) days, I visited the Wormiston House gardens for tea with friend Christine. Janie Douglas and two of her best friends and I did a big circuit at Cambo House. Went to a concert with cello (friend Claire playing), soprano, and organist at St Salvator’s chapel. Saw a couple of movies alone, and “Chariots of Fire” on the big screen with Nora. Went to the Friday night opening at the Pittenweem arts festival with Christine. And today–between sun and showers–watched an outdoor dance concert in which four people–two couples, one a man in a wheelchair who clearly did not have the use of his legs, dance a moving piece about love in its many manifestations in the small square between the town library and the church in St Andrews.

And boy! Are my wings tired!

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