Hello again from Sarah Graves, writing to you from Eastport, Maine where we are all working as fast as we can to get things accomplished before the snow gets too deep again. We just had two bright, sunny days, here, and everyone is exhausted: digging, hammering, painting, mowing, raking…and oh yeah, getting those snow shovels put away. Until now we’ve all felt too superstitious to take them off the front porch. Now it’s raining a little and we are glad to be able to put our feet up for a minute.
Speaking of which, I am writing this from my new recliner. Not my usual writing spot and it won’t be, either; my regular location, up in my office, is part of the unvarying routine that helps me to drop into the writing process as smoothly as possible. Still, I hit mental obstacles as often as the next person, feeling as if there’s no way in, all windows and doors boarded up against me. And when I do I try to remember these lines from Richard Wilbur’s poem, Walking to Sleep: “As a queen sits down, knowing that a chair will be there, Or a general raises his hand and is given the field glasses, Step off assuredly into the blank of your mind. Something will come to you.” Watch out, though. Later in the poem, Wilbur suggests that what comes may not be entirely benign, and that it depends on…well, I won’t give it away.
One bit of news that I’m really very pleased to share: all fifteen books in the Home Repair is Homicide series, set right here in Eastport and starring amateur old-house fixer-upper Jake Tiptree, will soon appear as e-books from UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton. I don’t know what else to say about this, I’m still kind of walking around dazedly about it, but I can tell you that if you were to alert friends, relatives, and strangers on the street in the UK about the imminent availability of Jake & Co. e-books, I wouldn’t object in the slightest.
The windows in downtown Eastport continue to fascinate me. This one is a short story, or maybe even a novel, waiting to be written. When I finish a novel I usually have a burst of writing energy, like an engine backfiring right after you’ve shut it down, that gets me through another, shorter project. So fairly soon, with any luck, I’ll have both the time and the inclination. But I usually use the “walking to sleep” method to generate short stories, so the window will likely go unwritten — unless you’d like to use it?
Finally, a request for help from the driving-me-crazy department. Which is by the way a very large department, and people seem to be building new rooms onto it all the time, but never mind: Do you know who said, “The theater is a device for making people think that they are feeling and feel that they are thinking.” ? If you do, could you please solve this mystery for me by replying here? And if possible give a citation for it. Thanks in advance!
Meanwhile I’m going to test this recliner a little more to make sure it’s all right. Because, you know, I wouldn’t want someone else to get hurt on it when I could’ve just…zzzzz.
I love this, Sarah. Thank you for posting on Twitter. I will be a regular reader. As a wannabe writer, I appreciate all you say.
Had to go read the whole Richard Wilbur poem, Sarah. Excellent. Far more about writing, for me, than about going to sleep. But I think that’s the point.
I want that crab!
I posted your quotation on the Maine Library list, asking for help and got no replies. That’s unusual as most often someone among the 1300+ members finds an answer to almost everything.
Thanks, John. I know I didn’t make it up myself! But where, oh where did I read it?