Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Today, unless something strange happens, I should finally be able to finish the enormous editing project I've been working on for the past several months. That will be a relief. Though I do have a few smaller editing tasks in the queue, the next big thing on my to-do desk list is to write a book review for a literary journal. I'm hoping the venture will go well: it's been a while since I've done a review, and this is supposed to be a long one, not one of those capsules slotted in the back of a magazine. At least this means I will have room for digression. If nothing else, I've learned that writing an essay depends, as much as anything, on recording the ways in which my mind accidentally wanders away from a topic.

After a cold weekend, the temperature will rise into the 80s and 90s this week. I've refilled the hummingbird feeder and made ice tea, and I'm catching up on the mowing and the weeding. I've got a patch of beets to thin today, so there will be beet greens and baby beet salad for dinner tonight. Maybe I'll toss in some feta and mint, and eat peaches and blueberries for dessert.

I also have poem drafts to consider. I also should try to sell my new book. My friend Tom wrote me a note about it yesterday: "It's as much autobiography as criticism which I suppose is why you had such a tough time finding a publisher. . . . I guess because I know a little of what's happening in your life these days I couldn't help but see it as a farewell to a time and place (parenthood, that reliving of childhood that comes with parenting, and Harmony, where it all went down)." I think he's right about the farewell, though that arises more from the timing of the book's release than from actual intent. When I wrote the book, I felt as if I would be the person I was then forever.

What I saw, as I was preparing the chapters for publication, was the way in which my writing style has evolved. My sentences have shortened (somewhat). My rhythms have become more clipped (somewhat). But even though I was tempted to rewrite, mostly I left the original versions alone. Can't the sound of a sentence also be the memory of a time and place?

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