Some people like to finish things--but that's not me. When I complete one thing, I'm happiest when I can turn to something else, another work-in-progress. I like incompletes, overlappings: one project just getting started, another one halfway finished (like this needlepoint), a third reaching the end--although where books are concerned, the end doesn't happen when I put the period to the last sentence. There's the copyedited manuscript to work with, the first pass pages, then the hoopla that comes with publication. And even that isn't the end, because the book changes hands: it takes on a new life on readers' shelves and in readers' minds and hearts, a kind of transmutation. I like that. I like the idea that the book isn't mine any longer, it's yours, it's theirs, it belongs to everybody who opens it and starts to read. I love it when somebody writes to tell me that she is enjoying a book I "finished" 25 years ago. Overlappings, incompletes, words on the wind, works in progress.
On the writing desk, several incompletes. I've set the 1950s memoir aside for a couple of months while I work on The Last Chance Olive Ranch, China's 25th mystery. It isn't due on my editor's desk until March 2016, but I thought it would be better to work on it now, since Loving Eleanor (currently with the copy editor) is scheduled for February. (The link gives you a preview peek at the website, which is another work-in-progress.) Meanwhile, The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O'Clock Lady ("finished" a year ago) will be published Sept 1, and that book can start its own new life with readers. Publishers Weekly liked it: gave it a starred review!
In the garden, betwixt & between. The spring garden is finished and the beds are cleared off and waiting for the fall planting (beans, potatoes, spinach, chard) but we've had NO rain for 6 weeks and the soil is too hot. I've got some seeds started already--if the promised El Nino amounts to anything, the first frost may be delayed long enough to get some nice fall tomatoes & peppers.
From Story Circle. This year, I'm president of Story Circle, a unique community of women writers. We're looking for creative presentations for our eighth biannual writing conference, in April 2016. If you're a writer, memoirist, novelist, poet, writing teacher, or writing coach and have ideas to share, please consider making a proposal. And help us get the word out by sharing our RFP with your friends. Thank you!
Reading note. The fairies, as their custom, clapped their hands with delight over their cleverness, and they were so madly in love with the little house that they could not bear to think they had finished it.--J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens