And you’ll notice that I cheaped it out, decided to let this entry stand through the end of the year. Link’s above.
I don’t know why I’ve felt so overwhelmed this autumn. A year ago at this time, my work was essentially done and I was heading to South Africa, via Milan, for a vacation, knowing my galleys would catch up with me in my final week there. This year, I’m in the middle of a final draft, not because I’ve missed a deadline, but because my editor has been generous, allowing me to tweak to my heart’s content. I now believe that the only way to get through a final draft is to read it aloud. But that takes time. And, I find, a lot of green tea.
As some know, I am fond of the Yiddish proverb, Man plans, God laughs. Every autumn for the past several years I have looked ahead and thought, “Well, next year will be so much easier.” For example, heading into 2008, I thought that dropping my Goucher class would leave me awash in free time. I didn’t know that I would end up writing two novellas in addition to this year’s novel, along with some other bits of writing. (An essay for a book tied to the bicentennial of Poe’s birth in 2009, an essay for the Edgar annual, an introduction to my friend Lizzie’s book, an afterword for a new edition of What the Dead Know . . . I might be overlooking a few things.) I didn’t know I would end up going to London five times. (I know, poor me.)
Next year, the calendar is already filling in. My annual teaching gig at Eckerd College’s Writers in Paradise conference. A trip to Guatemala for yet another writers conference. The Sydney Writers Festival. A book tour. Two trips, I think, to the UK. How did this happen to the world’s happiest homebody? To be sure, I’m not complaining.
There was a moment this year when I thought, 2009 will be so easy. I planned to expand The Girl in the Green Raincoat into a novel, which meant that my work for 2009 was half-done. But I no longer want to do that. I like the novella as it is and hope it will be published, eventually. Instead, I’m going to write another stand-alone. The book arrived in a moment of profound boredom a few weeks ago, then promptly receded, which means I’m not done with Life Sentences yet. I’ll know I’m done when the new book returns to assert its claim. Or when the deadline finally arrives.
Back to work.