The end is in sight! This week I put all my chapters of my WP (work-in-progress) in the order they will be read in the finished novel. A couple of chapters are only a blank page at the moment. I have started to write one of these chapters and while it is only a paragraph it sets the scene. I also edited (again!) other chapters. I read about Buchi Emecheta who brought up five children as a single mother (she had five children in six years) and left an abusive marriage when she was twenty-two. She held down a job and studied for a degree while writing. I haven’t read any of her books (she has written over twenty) but I intend to search them out; one inspirational person! I find the best way to write is to have a routine: write every day and not just when you can fit it in or feel like it. I was talking to a friend today about research. I recently visited Brisbane, Australia where part of my WIP is set. I walked around the streets and tried to soak up the atmosphere of over seventy years ago. I walked the streets and passed the buildings I have written about. One restaurant I mention in my novel is now in a mall. It helped in only a small way. I prefer to read texts written in the era I am writing about, and letters, and diaries, and books set in the period. I had more sense of atmosphere while researching my next project in the same city. The past was magically alive in the place I visited. But I have to put that project aside for now.
One of my favourite books in the world is Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Chapter 18 Spring at the Creek
Here in Florida the seasons move in and out like nuns in soft clothing, making no rustle in their passing. It is common for me at least to fall on a certain kind of sunny day into a sort of amnesia. I think with a start, “What is the time of Year? Where was I yesterday? And is this May or October?”
Because time frightens me, and I see, like a lonely child, the maternal solace of timelessness, I plant only the evergreen shrubs and have no more than can be helped of the deciduous trees around me. All year the orange grove is luminous. The oleanders glisten. The palm trees shed the cold as blandly as the rain. Unless severe frost has struck them, the Turk’s-cap and hibiscus bear red lanterns day in, day out, to light the timid before the dark face of time. Only the pecan trees scattered through the grove shed their leaves in November and stand stripped and shivering until April. Strangers ask in winter, “What are the dead trees in the orange grove?” I bear with the sight of them for the sake of the harvest, When in spring the first feathery leaves appear and the gaunt grayness is misted with green, I draw a secret breath of relief, as though a danger were now over.
Published in 1943 I came by this book in the way of serendipity. On a blank page at the front of the book (I’m sure these pages have names of their own ) the previous owner of this book, Molly Palmer, a lady now passed away, (who came by the book second-hand herself from The Victoria Lending Library in Ballarat) has written:
A book I love because her philosophy is mine.
Have a great writing week, Elise