The Zepherine Drouhin rose has survived our four-plus years' drought and is outdoing itself this spring. This antique climber has been around since 1868, testimony to its amazing stamina. From two dozen or so roses before it stopped raining, I'm down to five or six, so I value this lovely survivor.
Garden report. Cabbage and peas all week. The cabbages (mini-size) keep in the fridge, but I've been freezing the snowpeas that we don't eat. Lots of them this year. This morning, I planted watermelon, eggplant (it's a little late, I'm afraid), and more basil--on the theory that there's never enough basil and that pesto freezes easily. The beans (Kentucky Wonder) and tomatoes (Porters and a few Roma) are blooming, and the spring potatoes are beginning to die back. We'll be digging them in about three weeks. The sweet potato starts are rooting and will be ready to go into the ground in about two weeks. Ah, life in the garden. Nothing sweeter--when the weather cooperates.
Book report. This week, I've been working on the memoir that my brother John and I are writing about our life as kids in the 1940s and 50s. We pretty much agree on what happened, but we have very different ways of describing it, and the differences are fascinating. To us, anyway--we hope readers will agree. But the important thing, for us, has been working on it together: revisiting old homes, digging up buried issues, trying to figure out our enigmatic (and troubled) father. John is himself a long-time writer, mostly for automotive magazines. Here's a sample of his work, and his crisp, punchy voice. The project has strengthened the connection between us, so if it never sees the light of day, it's already proved its worth. But it will: we'll likely publish it as an ebook in 2016, with an accompanying website.
Other projects: A Wilder Rose continues to do very well in its new Lake Union edition. I just finished listening to the audiobook edition and absolutely love it. At only $1.99, it's a huge bargain. Bittersweet has gotten great reviews in the month it's been out. And I'm waiting for page proofs for the next Darling Dahlias. I'm blessed in having good work to do--and I'm grateful to the readers who make it possible. (That's you, you know.)
Reading. I was saddened to learn of the passing of Ruth Rendell, a writer's writer, if there ever was one. I haven't read her for a while, so last night, I downloaded From Doon With Death, the first book in the Inspector Wexford series. I'm loving my trip back to Kingsmarkham and the characters Rendell created. I think I'll read three or four in the series, and several of her psychological thrillers, just to remind myself of all I've learned from this very fine writer.
Reading note. Some say life is the thing, but I prefer reading.--Ruth Rendell