Sunday, September 27, 2009

First Round

Done! Round One:

482 pages of revisions
Two weeks of little sleep
Fourteen days of blazing sunshine (frustratingly rare on this island as it is officially the rainiest spot on earth)
A long awaited visit to the island from my boyfriend Noah (I usually go to California as he gets so little time off)
An ear infection (from a big wave crashing on my head at Secret Beach a year ago--keeps coming back)
Nine days of teaching three wonderful students (Things Fall Apart, split infinitives, Cultural Imperialism, adverbs and James and the Giant Peach)
A lost dog (turned out her name was Nani and she ran away from her bath)
A hole in my tongue (bit it straight through when I fell down the stairs--ouch--need more sleep)
My boyfriend's mom's birthday (at Kintaro's)
Three hundred hours of writing
Sixty-eight phone calls to my mom (she would like me to get a stronger grip on split infinitives)
An enormous pile of laundry
Ten bitten down fingernails
One stubbed toe
Three pineapples
A compelling new coffee habit
Four terrible movies
One Tropical Taco
Four unreturned movies
One late fee from the movie machine
Lemons in the lemon tree
Eleven striped shells (from Tunnels Beach)
29 unanswered phone messages
And the result...a 512 page revised manuscript.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Manuscript

It arrived! Over the ocean and through the woods in a UPS truck it came! A rectangular, battered, brown envelope waited on the porch when I returned from an emergency trip to town. I had dropped my phone into the pool and then had to fish it out with my feet like some sort of primate as the pool had just been chlorinated and I did not want my recently bleached hair to turn green. Michelle and Peanut were highly amused watching this display of dexterity. The valiant little phone--not her first swim in the pool--gasped her last breath and blew bubbles over the screen. I am making friends with my new phone and feeling quite disloyal.

But when one stops watching the kettle... the UPS truck arrives! We sat, the brown envelope and I, over a dinner of cantaloupe and saimin and discussed the possibilities: A) We open it alone and panic alone. B) We call in reinforcements to open it with us but then most likely wish whoever it was would go away so we could be left in peace to panic. We went with B, the brown envelope and I. B plus talking to my mother on the phone for support.

And it was marvelous! (Funny 'marvelous' is spelled with one 'l' here and two 'l's' in the UK. I occasionally get out of step with words and nothing looks right--'organis/ze' and 'fork' are terribly tricky.)

The editorial letter was effusive, warm and generous. So happy! My lovely editor's comments were constructive and very, very kind. And I agree with them! Throughout there have been a few patches that felt, not bad but like they could not quite carry their own weight and needed to be tent-poled by stand out lines. Now they are going to get renovated! There is a high drama section where the life of the character plays second fiddle to the extraordinary history of the time (plague and fire of 1665-1666). Not ok! I have to weave her life through the history rather than the reverse. Regardless of the enormity of public events personal lives remain at the forefront for they provide the lens.

Excited to work!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The UPS truck usually arrives after 2pm. It is 1207pm. It might not arrive today. Does UPS deliver on Saturdays? Monday. My revised manuscript complete with editorial letter, notes and I am sure a great deal of red ink will most likely arrive on Monday.

And so I return to the early 20th Century to read about pre-war Paris, Matisse and... foundation garments. (I am having trouble understanding the slow demise of the corset.) But my brain will not engage with these fascinating subjects and so I turn back to Nell (The Orange Girl) and zap through the pages, deleting words and shifting descriptions, trying to guess where the editorial grenade will land. It is impossible to gauge. And equally impossible to unravel the fate of the corset. And so I am going swimming.