When a Writer’s Not Engaged in Her Employment

On my way to the Witherle Library in Castine for a library talk. Is anyone else terrified about driving over the Penobscot Narrows Bridge?

Kate Flora: You may recall that a post or two ago, I declared that I was going to spend my summer exploring indolence. At that time, I had visions of sitting in a white rocking chair on my porch, devouring novels like a box of bonbons. The very next day, an edited manuscript arrived that demanded my attention through the Fourth of July weekend, returned a week later like a boomerang, and has returned once more since. Evidently the editor read my blog post and decided I really needed something to do.

That matter settled, an e-book that needs to become a paperback also arrived and needed my attention. In between, I explored carrot and parsnip fritters, and made a lovely dish with Israeli couscous. Along with reading, my vow has been to cook my way through Yottam Ottolenghi’s book, Jerusalem. So far, my results have actually looked a lot like the pictures.


In an excess of enthusiasm at the idea of having an empty schedule, I paid a visit to the

The Maine Mulch Murder by A. Carman Clark

lovely ladies at Mainely Murder to drop off some copies of my late mother’s mystery, The Maine Mulch Murder, and choose some summer reading. The conversation turned to my mother’s second mystery, The Corpse in the Compost, which was in draft form at the time of her death. For a few years now, I have vowed to see if I could finish it when I had time. Now, as Paula and Ann pointed out, I said I had a wide open summer. And that was that.

Instead of devouring novels, I am sitting in my white rocking chair on my porch with a notebook in my lap. It contains the draft novel, my typed comments after reading it about fourteen years ago, notes from an editor, and notes from her good friend, Marilis Hornidge, who was a writer and editor herself. Now I am slowly making my way through the book, editing, writing notes to myself, and occasionally looking skyward and saying, “Darnit, mom, what were you trying to do here?” or “Look, where are you notes on antique fabrics?” It’s a strange conversation, and I’m trying to tweak what needs tweaking without spoiling the author’s unique voice.

Sunset over Mackerel Cove

I would say that I am paying for my desire to have to the summer off, but in truth, this project is a whole lot of fun. When I’m not channeling my mother, I am slowly working toward assembling a dozen of my published short stories into a book, and finishing the next Thea Kozak mystery. Maybe, as everyone has always said, it is impossible for a writer not to be writing.

Of course, because I am still trying to embrace indolence, I am spending pleasant time communing with my flowers. And on Thursday, weather permitting, I will join other members of my family in Union for a morning of picking blueberries and a swim in Sennebec Pond.

The Alert sailing out of the cove

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8 Responses to When a Writer’s Not Engaged in Her Employment

  1. Karla says:

    You make me think of Mel Brooks, when asked if he’d ever retire. He said something like, ‘I think funny things about what I see, and write them down. I don’t know how you can retire from that.’
    We can’t not. Thanks Kate.

  2. Margie Reed says:

    Love Paula and Ann at Mainely Murders. Paula suggested The Maine Mulch Murder to me during our visit from Ohio last month. I can’t wait to get started on it.

  3. John R. Clark says:

    Should I feel guilty about sitting on the porch reading while hummingbirds hover above my head?

  4. Ruth Nixon says:

    I finished Maine Mulch Murder just recently after Looking for it in book form found it in Ebook and enjoyed every page. Oh please finish Corpse in the Compost . Missing my favorite cop too.

  5. Gram says:

    Loved the first book and am looking forward to The corpse in the Compost.

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