In The Writer's World

Judy’s Place in Mitchell, Oregon.

The State of the State

The holidays are past. Thank goodness. They were fine, except for a few last minute glitches from the weather. Nothing serious. A little ice. Lots of good food and a bit of traditional music and bright lights. Significant infusions of butter.

For me, looking back on the year that was 2017 has been fun. I always like to take stock, see what I have accomplished in this small space I occupy on the planet, and set goals for the future. I am looking back on some lovely short trips accomplished since I changed employment and now deal with a more flexible schedule. Times in Connecticut, Spokane, Astoria, Mitchell, and Madras were so special, enjoyed with close friends and family.

This year I anticipate a visit to Tucson, and a river cruise on the Danube with my daughter, and some special small outings as well. Sitting here watching the drizzle, the thoughts of traveling to a place I’ve never been makes me very happy indeed.

The State of the Novel

Two hundred pages and counting. I spent holiday time reading over what I have written to date. I’ve been a slowpoke on this book. It is new territory, a different type of novel than the series (which will continue, by the way, just not right now). It’s presented challenges. So it was good to get caught up and see the big picture and make a few notes about where there are holes that need filling.

Andy Warhol drawing.

The hardest work lies ahead in the rewrites, but it’s work I enjoy. I’ve talked to a handful of people about being early readers/critiquers. Writing is a lonely occupation, and at some point we need to come out from under the rock and talk to someone about plots and characters and the arc. Of course we want our work to be perfect! It never is. So one must choose to expose oneself to those who will be ruthless and honest, but not mean, to lend their aid. It is very tender territory, like showing one’s newborn for the first time.

Other stuff

My dear friend Toni Morgan, whom I met in a small critique group some years back, has just had two of her books published by Adelaide Books–Patrimony and Two-Hearted Crossing. I read both of these books pre-publication and am so excited they are finally available in e-book and print format. Toni is a fine writer and knows how to tell a story. Her other four novels are in pre-publication with Adelaide. I am very pleased for her. The books are available through the publisher, Amazon, and wherever else you purchase books and e-books.

And, after a break for the holidays, Portland-area theatres have new plays opening. Among the most exciting are two new world premieres by Portland playwrights. Astoria Part 2 by Chris Coleman (Chris has left us for Denver) opens January 26 at Portland Center Stage. Magellanica premieres at Artists Repertory Theatre on January 27. Astoria Parts 1 and 2 together equal the 5-hour marathon that is Magellanica. It is staged in five parts with intermissions and a dinner break. It is by Oregon playwright E.M. Lewis, who is perhaps best known for her short play The Gun Show performed at CoHo last season.

Have a great month! The days are getting longer. Really.

 

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