Sunday, February 5, 2017

ROW80: Sunday Check-in from Philadelphia

Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Sometimes we delve into these kinds of issues in our writing. Sometimes we live through them with our families. 

This week, we said goodbye to a generous, stubborn matriarch of our family. At 96, she influenced generations of kids, grandkids, and great-grands. She knew about each one and cared about their interests, whether soccer or stamp-collecting. She cooked family dinners of five courses, pulling gourmet soups and entrees out of her freezer at the last moment. She stopped driving 6 months ago, following years of protests. Now, she remains with us in memory.

So, not much writing got done this week. We're in Philadelphia for another week. I can only report the outlining for Section 03 is complete. Despite having added about 1,500 words last week, the coming week looks sparse, for I'm now working on the last minor edits for Section 03 (20 chapters). This outlining process showed me more clearly where plot/conflict lines need strengthening and where minor characters can be clarified and/or combined.

It's been a long week. 

One very nice aspect of writing on the road is that all seems simplified, reduced to essentials. The laptop. A card table. An empty apartment. A lovely winter view of the woods. And so I will work in the quiet mornings. May your own writing go well.

Joshua Tree National Park (January 2017)


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. :(

    I'm glad you were able to get some writing done.

  2. So sorry for your loss.

    Good job on the writing and outlining.

  3. Condolences for your loss, but joy for all the memories you have... the good, the not-so good and even the miserable. Because they signify a full life, a real life.

    It's hard to write while traveling. Not so hard to journal and imagine, but definitely hard to plan, plot and execute the words in a cohesive fashion while traveling. Kudos!

  4. Sorry for your loss, Beth. Well done for being able to write in the circumstances.

  5. I grieve with you, Beth. May you be able to hold the lovely, spare beauty of Joshua Tree within you as something of a balm for the sorrow. I loved Joshua Tree, and long to go back.

    You've continued writing, which I imagine is part challenge, part catharsis, and part escape. May your travels, when they resume, be safe and soul-nourishing.


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