Friday, March 20, 2009


It's Friday morning here and everything is a damp grey but I see buds on the lilacs and the forsythia bush outside my kitchen windows. Spring is coming. Yesterday the boys spent some time fashioning a cross to top our old dog's grave. Marty died in the fall at age 14 - he was a chocolate lab and German shorthair mix. Very handsome and smart. A dog's life is very brief! Wyatt wrote on the cross, "Here Lies Marty." Paul added lots of XOXOXO's. We still have Digger, the big, not so smart golden retriever/lab and Callie, our little calico cat, and another grey cat we call Big Fat just because he is. They all live outside in various stages of disharmony.

Today stretches out before us with nothing to do but homeschool and practice violin. And write. I returned the page proofs to Baker Books last week and TFD will soon be on the way to the printer. Back to Red River Daughter. I've made it to page 250 before running into revisions. Till now the writing is about as tight as I can make it. It's kind of fun figuring out what to cut and what to keep at this stage. Be careful if you pray for an editor's eye! It's wonderful for critiquing your own work but it robs you of the joy of reading someone else's. I'd like a shut-off switch when I read books to get out of the editor mode and just return to being a reader.

When the acquisitions editor at Revell first read TFD, she said I had a knack for using just the right word at the right time. This is one of the things that got me through the publishing door. But I remember being so surprised and thinking, "But I struggle so for those words! When I write I often feel I am up against a dark wall and the right word is on the other side and I can't reach it."

So this quote I just found by Harper Lee means a great deal to me and maybe you, too:

There's no substitute for the love of language, for the beauty of an English sentence. There's no substitute for struggling, if a struggle is needed, to make an English sentence as beautiful as it should be.

Happy Friday.

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