Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The bumble bee the bumble bee
It flew away from the tulip tree
It made a mistake and flew into the lake
And never got home for early tea.

I love stories pitched high. I love writing that you have to work for. This little rhyme appears apropos of nothing part way through my favorite film (Stanley Donen's Two for the Road) and then reappears later to lightly denote the perfect mix of wry regret, nostalgia, freedom, remembered fun and loss--all without saying anything. Love that. The characters go sixty percent and we race to make up the other forty--fun. When the plot or structure or characters snap together too easily I sort of fall asleep at the wheel in my head.

On the other hand if I read something that is pitched too high I hate it. I know hate is a strong word. But I greatly, massively, disproportionately dislike it. Self conscious, deliberately out of reach linguistic acrobatics drive me bonkers.

Yesterday, standing in Kinko's Fed Ex (after having a stern discussion with my packaged up book asking it not to be the one in a million Fed Ex package to get lost, kissing it goodbye and freaking out the nice man behind the counter), I realized that I have no sense anymore of where my book is pitched. That finely tuned, ruthless speedometer that is running full tilt when I read, seems to go to lunch when I write. That is, as Tuna says, is no bueno.

I am far to close to what I have written to have any real idea what it says--worrying. I have heard that phrase before but did not really understand what it meant. As I was finishing up my edits yesterday I went around the house reading bits aloud to various animals and humans trying to get a sense of how it really sounded. (Bert seemed to like it, the Major wouldn't wake up, and the Black Cat ran off to eat soy sauce instead). The chunks of words sounded foreign, strange and unfamiliar--like when you repeat the word "fork" too many times and it no longer sounds right.


  1. Fork fork fork fork fork fork fork fork fork fork!!!!!

  2. i know! it can happen really easily with spoon too...

  3. That really does happen! To fix it I went away from my manuscript once for a month and when I came back it did not feel like I had written it! It gave me a whole new perspective!

  4. I always try to do that when I am getting to the final stages of a project. It really helps! Good tip Gillian! Thanx!

  5. forkspoonforkspoonforkspoon--you are right! it sounds like the publishing journey has been wonderful! thank you for sharing your adventures!


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