I took this photograph last year (or the year before?) in Central Park. I don’t carry my phone anymore when I walk. I used to forget to take it and then decided to keep forgetting. I like to see what I’m looking at, to experience it for its own sake. On my way to the park the other day, I saw one person after another looking through the lens of an iPhone at a cherry blossom tree, or the red tulips on Park Avenue. Some were texting and didn’t bother to look at all. Pink blossoms were being caught up in the wind and coming down like snow. It was quite amazing. The ground was covered in a blanket of soft pink.
Today it’s warm and humid and then starts to pour. The maple tree outside my window is already in full green leaf.
I’m still writing the second book. Every day I work on it. As I told Gregory the other day, I’ve been writing it for a year and six months, a minimum of five hours a day, seven days a week (or sometimes six.) How many hours is that? I’m on a third draft and also have drafts in the third person as well as first person. Plus two files of cut scenes.
It’s a trick to keep track of everything, but the greatest trick is keeping my perspective as I move from the big picture to the small and back. Sometimes I think I’m capturing something unique and perfect and then I look from a different angle and realize that I’ve drifted and need to cut back and work from the last thing that feels genuine. That’s another trap: the thin line between what is heartfelt, genuine, and what is sentimental. So, it’s back and forth, close, and step back. Read from the beginning. Cut, cut. Wake up with a new idea, implement it. Feel inspired. Think (mistakenly) I’ve finally got the secret to it. Lose that perspective, and so on. If I ever finish this thing, I’m going to write some songs.
I’ve been reading a lot too. I can’t imagine writing without reading. When I get stuck, I need to fall into the flow of another writer’s words — someone who inspires me. I’ve been reading Anne Carson’s Men in The Off Hours the last few mornings. (“March threw its knives against the door.”) The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham (excellent.) What else? Short stories by Alice Munro and Edith Perlman. Both write true, believable, characters and dialogue. They are masterful. I read their stories before bed and hope to wake up with a little rubbed off on me.
Oh it’s pouring now! A torrential downpour and the sun is coming out at the same time. Now thunder. Now the rain slows..