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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Hardly slept after 3:15. Dozed for awhile just before the alarm at 5:30, and rose at 6:04. Kim dutifully pulled the meditation cushions out from under the bed to do her morning session while I made the coffee.

Sunny glorious day, with thick frost in places to begin with, but warm by late afternoon. Got an e-mail from Warren in Chicago, very encouraging as always about my project, in which he has complete faith. Spent some time reading that a couple of times, then back into chapter 13. Tougher going today, choreographing action scenes. What happens before what, what flows. Lots of this type of fiddling when we were writing for TV. I eked out 3 pages before feeling fed up with it. Sort of like Kimmie's description of giving birth: you can't rush it, it happens at its own speed. You can only go with it or fight futilely against it.

On my way out to buy fresh water (and scotch) I found the car's battery dead. I'd left the overhead cabin light on over the weekend after losing the small garage-door opener in the emergency-brake housing (that was a difficult search--finally retrieved it with a pencil and chewing-gum). So I walked up to London Drugs to buy a set of jumper cables. I asked a very tall, thin girl in the blue uniform whether they still had an automotive section.

"There are a very, very, very few automotive items in this aisle, on the left," she said.

I appreciated her effort to lower my expectations. As it happens, they had a perfectly fine set of Chinese-made jumper cables for $20. At home, my 71-year-old neighbor Allison agreed to provide her Toyota to help me jump mine. Hey presto--worked first time, no electrocutions. Back inside to push ahead reading Message of the Sphinx and, for pure pleasure, The Long Summer by Brian Fagan: a climatic history of humanity from 10,000 BC to the present. Exciting.

Now, upstairs, Kimmie has her old friend Katie over for a glass of wine. The three of us all met on the same day: Halloween 1983, our first day at ICBC.


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