One chapter, 2,400 words, done as of 11:10 a.m. and I am strangely hungry. Or perhaps not so strangely? I’m taking a break and may not resume writing until after lunch, but I’d like to get the next chapter under way, rather than risk freezing up. A version of the old <a href=”http://members.tripod.com/~greeneland/writing.htm//” target=”_blank”>Graham Greene</a> trick, if you will. Plus, I have to go downtown with the contractor and pull a permit and lord knows how long that will take. Then again, every foray into Baltimore’s municipal offices tends to provide material. I found Nancy Porter’s maiden name in a visit to the tax office, years ago.
Today, I’ve been thinking about weaving. For those of you who already know of my deep, deep, deep nerd<a href=”http://www.lauralippman.com//” target=”_blank”> credentials</a>, it will come as no surprise that I had a loom as a teenager; one of my oldest friends, in attendance at my stepson’s bar mitzvah this spring, took great delight in telling people how I showed up with my loom the first day of camp – and she liked me anyway. The loom was a wooden affair with posts, no treadles, and the pattern was actually established in setting up the warp threads. Once that was done, one simply had to pass the shuttle back and forth. (Oh, the resulting belts were STUNNING. I can’t believe I didn’t keep them all.) (By the way, a web search leads me to doubt my memory on this, and it’s possible that I did have to vary the thread colors on the shuttle. I can’t find any looms quite like the simple one I owned.) Toward the end, a novel isn’t quite that effortless, not at all, but opportunities narrow and there is the thrill of connecting disparate things, seeing the pattern emerge.
By the way, I would like to clarify my annual visual ritual. It’s not about seeing the novel’s action cinematically, although I certainly do that, too. It’s about creating a wordless depiction of the book, a composition that has to stand on its own as an aesthetic object. True, there are words and notes all over my storyboard, but if you stand far enough back, all you see is a pattern of blue, orange and green squares, with vari-colored lines running throughout, some solid, some dotted. What I’m looking for is a pleasing asymmetry. I also confess to believing in the three-act structure and I think the final act should move very briskly.
Back to work.