Bullet Points

We had a burst of winter here in Eastport, snow all day and plows rumbling by outside. It’s a different place now from the one summer visitors experience, and in its way just as lovely. You can’t see him but there’s a guy on the tugboat, shoveling off the deck.

Since I took these pictures yesterday the temperature has risen to 48 degrees. Just to soften us up for the deep freeze forecast for next week, do you suppose?


I have been in the throes of rewrite, coming now and then upon passages whose original appeal just escapes me entirely. That’s when I spend Way Too Much Time on a few lines, trying to wrestle them into something…well, if not graceful, at least halfway tolerable. It’s also when I try to remember an old tip that I learned after lots of struggle: if nothing works, if the thing just won’t be word-wrangled, give a bit of thought to: (1) Deleting it entirely, or (2) rethinking the event the passage describes. Often I find deleting is the correct move.


I’m reading NO ORDINARY TIME by Doris Kearns Goodwin, about FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt and WWII. The people are all fascinating and the prose feels effortless. It’s what my old friends in the science fiction world called window-pane prose…you don’t see it, you see through it to the world being depicted.


Speaking of prose…do you have someone you read when you need to get your mojo back, or you feel that you do? My favorite is Dickens, and especially the multi-point-of-view BLEAK HOUSE, just because he does handle point of view so well, and because the prose sounds like someone specific, someone with quirks and traits and opinions.

Which is another way of saying how well he does point of view, isn’t it?


Eastport has sidewalks and streetlamps and public art, city features that make downtown’s relative emptiness in winter all the more striking. The atmosphere is one of knuckling down, doing the necessary, and keeping warm — not bad ideas when you have a novel in progress, hmm?

And about the time it’s done (she said hopefully), spring will be here. The seed catalogues are spread out on the kitchen table in bright profusion. I’ve discovered that potatoes keep well in the butler’s pantry, and that I miss garlic when I don’t grow it, and there’s a zucchini relish recipe to try. So: something to work on now, something to look forward to later…life is good.

Note: This is a rerun of a post from last year — because just like last year at this time I’m hip-deep in rewrite. The more things change, etc. See you next time!



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2 Responses to Bullet Points

  1. Lea Wait says:

    I’m there, Sarah. I’m always amazed by people who say, “I don’t know how you take the winters in Maine!” We take them just fine, thank you. The snow is white, the water is icy blue, and there’s plenty of time to work inside, getting all the tasks done that have been saved up from other seasons for just such occasions. Like writing. And editing. Winter well! And see you in the spring. P.S. It’s 9 degrees today, with snow predicted later this afternoon.

    • Lovely post, Sarah! I am in the same spot as you, frantically trying to get a book done for a March 1 deadline and I am WAAY behind. The cold weather is a boon to my efforts, however! I wish us both well.

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