I'm treating myself to a month of silence and solitude at our place in the New Mexico mountains. I'm leaving tomorrow--at least, that's the plan. I intended to leave last Friday, but that winter storm (now moving east) looked fierce, so I postponed. There's a stretch of Rt 84 that I have to drive in the dark. Daughter Robin drove it yesterday on her way from Santa Rosa (she was scuba diving at Blue Hole--would you believe?) to Colorado Springs, and told me that it hadn't been plowed yet. Also: that stretch has no cell phone coverage, so if I had trouble, it might be a long wait for help. Our neighbor says we got a foot of snow there last night, so the driveway has to be plowed.
I'll be working on two projects: Bittersweet, the 2015 China Bayles mystery; and a memoir that my brother John Webber and I are working on together, a collaborative memoir about our growing-up time in Danville IL in the 1950s. (I'm still researching my "stealth project" but won't be doing any writing on that for quite a while.) The work with John is somewhat astonishing: shared memories are prompting not just a deluge but entire tsunamis of memories.
And it's enormously interesting to get a glimpse into John's creative imagination: yesterday, he came up with an idea for a cover that is so good it's almost spooky. For a sample of his writing, check out this short piece he wrote about our great-grandfather. Among other things, we're interested in why/how both of us as adults came to make writing our livelihood--our early educations certainly didn't point us in that direction. This will likely be an author-published book, in late 2014 or early 2015.
Linda Hasselstrom, SCN's keynote speaker for our 2014 women's memoir conference has just written a fascinating review of A Wilder Rose. I very much like the distinction she points out between Laura as a "casual" writer and Rose as a committed professional. That is at the heart of the Rose/Laura collaboration, it seems to me, and I'm so glad that Linda (herself a committed professional writer and teacher) has pointed it out. I hope you'll read her review, both for what she says about the book and for the insight she gives us into her own work as a reader and writer. I'm so glad she'll be our conference keynoter!
One happy note for me: the number of libraries in the World Catalog system that have acquired Rose has now reached 150. Pretty darn good for an author-published book!
Reading note: A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.--Richard Bach