As I write this, the snow is bombing the East Coast where I live. My cat is curled up in my lap, positioned in the beneficent path of the space heater at my feet. Slate coated juncos, black capped chickadees, yellow bellied woodpeckers, mourning doves, and (of course) gray and red squirrels are swarming the seed in the feeder – in this bluster! The wind is whipping the snow as if it was snapping bed linens outside my window. It’s extreme out there, folks.
Fortunately, I have lots to read. I’m loaded up with books by Italo Calvino, Rivka Galchen, Emma Goldman, and Karl Ove Knausgaard, while eagerly awaiting Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters to come in. I just came across her earlier this week and can’t believe I didn’t know of her sooner. Actually, scratch that. It is not surprising that as an African American woman she’d been slighted by many a syllabus. Herenow, I assign you this story. Then snatch up every last thing she’s written, and we’ll compare notes. (I’m not kidding – let me know what you think.)
Also keeping me warm are client manuscripts. This winter, I’ve been working with short story writers, sketch comedians, poets, novelists, and a doctor working on a nonfiction book that promises to explode the way we think about a major component of healthcare. I love how helping other writers to make their work better also helps me to do the good work on my own.
Speaking of which, I’m excited to tell you that I just found out Junot Diaz took ten years to write The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I’m clocking in at roughly four at this point, so I’m in pretty good stead. Not four continuous years, mind you (I took a year off to fight a casino), but no kidding the seed of the project first came in 2012. It has transformed so remarkably with each round of revision that I have made peace, for the most part, with the time it is taking to bring this book to fruition.
Off to make a fire!