Hello again from Sarah Graves, writing to you from Eastport, Maine where all summer it seemed there was always more of everything, both good and not-so-good. But now it’s clear that what there isn’t more of is summer itself. The garden is a melancholy shambles, the trees are burning brightest just before the leaves go away altogether, and the sky has that hard blue light in it, now, that icy color. Most of our summer residents have flown off to their winter roosts and it really is as if a lot of birds have departed a single tree all at once, that sudden silent absence.
The light is different in another way, too, with the ever-present backlighting from the bay mixing itself into the sun’s low-angle illumination to produce a lit from all sides effect. The darkness, though, is the same, just more and more of it. Next week when daylight savings ends we will land with a (for me) hard psychological thud in Mostly Dark Most of the Time-land, and stay there until spring. I have a plan for dealing with the darkness, though: did you know that light reflected up off the pages of a book is just like summer sunlight?
My new neighbor across the street has begun the task of rehabilitating this old beauty. But the pillars are being stubborn. These strips of old paint look as if they’d fall if you just blew on them, but they’re actually sort of melded with the wood after all this time. So far they have resisted power sanding and power washing. A hammer and chisel might do it, or a heat gun. I have never used a heat gun because our house is so old and dry you could light it with a match; also, lead paint plus heat gun equals poisonous fumes (I like these in literature but not in life). Outdoors, though, I might risk it, keeping a hose handy. Or — well, no, I probably wouldn’t, because if I did the I’d have to sit up all night making sure the fire didn’t smolder for hours before finally showing itself around 2 AM, as they do.
I finished a book last week. Writing one, I mean. And as always, the main thing I feel is relief. As I mentioned, there were quite a lot of events going on here this summer; luckily, though, my most prominent character trait is bone-headed stubbornness. So the thing is done and on someone else’s desk for a few days, and after that there’ll be another whole wild thicket of stuff to confront. But at the moment I have a little time to read, plus some actual unoccupied brain cells to do it with. Result: I was the only person in the world who hadn’t read GONE GIRL, but now I have, and I am the still only person who hasn’t written all about what they think of it, and I’m not going to. But isn’t it interesting how huge it is in pop culture right now? When not long ago we were talking about whether or not characters in novels should be “likable.”
This is the first in the new series I’m writing. Due out at the end of this coming December, WINTER AT THE DOOR stars ex-Boston murder cop Lizzie Snow, who’s about to discover that remote rural Maine has a dark side. No surprise to anyone who lives there, I’m sure — when you get that far off the beaten track, and the population pressure is that low, people tend to let their psychologies bloom, for good or ill. Even here in Eastport, not so far off the beaten track anymore, we tend to allow our quirks off their leashes and tolerate one another’s picturesque habits — in costume, for instance, or in social graces or the lack of them. Or whatever. Anyway, Lizzie has her own dark side to contend with — and what she doesn’t know is that from the moment she arrives in Maine, someone’s watching her do it.