Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"Time to get more tea. Now I'm in Mexico."

My husband and I are sitting at the dining table, in front of the big window, beyond which most of our trees have lost their recently golden leaves. I am working on the lush and lyrical novel I've been hired to edit, and he is back to geo-tagging fish specimens from his museum's collection, having completed his part of his department's annual report last week. Geological survey maps from countries across the world are displayed on his laptop, as he reconciles collectors' written descriptions of where specific specimens were found with actual geography. It's patient detective work, as many of these collections were gathered decades ago, and some descriptions don't match the topography on his screen. He has just finished tagging a collection from Guatemala. "Time to get some more tea," he announces cheerfully. "Now I'm in Mexico."

Meanwhile, I'm in Armenia, where the novel I'm working on opens. I'm enthralled by the characters, and hope to do this sprawling family saga justice. I pray that it will sell well, and secure the author's family and allow her to dedicate herself to writing full time. She's so gifted, an emotional soul, buffeted minute to minute by internal weather. She makes me look like a stoic, but this, I think, is why she writes the way she does, the story pouring out of her, unable to be contained. I hope and pray you will one day soon know her name.

I learned last night that my next project may happen after all. I thought the deal had fallen through, as I didn't want to accept one of the terms set by the subject's agent. But the subject has now said she wants to work with me, so our agents are renegotiating the terms. I had decided I was at peace with whatever happened, and that I would simply sink into this gorgeously written book I'm working on and when it was done, catch up on reading all the books that have piled up on my nightstand, and on my kindle, for years it seems. It was a delicious alternative to contemplate. But now, I shall have to push harder and be more schedule oriented in getting through the current manuscript—I won't give it short shrift of course, but no more meandering and sighing with pleasure. Another job awaits, and though it includes the always dreaded task of writing a proposal, I am grateful to have work.

I feel so lucky to be here, in this moment, with this man. He is excellent company, even on those days when I'm climbing the walls and have to get outside. I don't feel like that today. It's in the low thirties outside, crisp and cold, the sun casting lacy shadows through the trees. I look out from my apartment several floors up, and the world feels quiet somehow, gentle, even though I know that the cruel and corrupt president, in his last days, is doing his worst. We just have to hang on. There are two covid vaccines on the horizon, both reportedly 95 percent effective, and a president-elect who knows what he's doing is steadily getting up to speed.

My daughter took this picture on a recent trip to Maine. The way the light falls, a rainbow's end right at her feet, it looks to me like a portal to something good.


  1. wait!! How did that rainbow happen??
    Who wouldn't want to work with you is more the question - congratulations.
    Looking forward to reading the "It started in Armenia" book. Intriguing. Stay in, stay well, love to you always.

  2. It does look like a magical portal! Your current project sounds very intriguing. I can’t wait till January 20th. I don’t think I’ll truly relax until then. Much love.

  3. This all sounds so interesting...and to think you started all of this fearing lack of work! I am looking forward to how it all turns out.

  4. Well, if that's not a portal, I don't know what could be. Mysterious, serious magic there.
    I like what e said about you fearing lack of work. That certainly has not been a problem. Your reputation precedes you far and wide, obviously!
    It is such a beautiful day here today. There are leaves falling, even here. But slowly.
    I love the image of your husband identifying fish on his computer from all over the world. In that Ann Patchett book I told you about, one of the characters is absolutely in love with fish and identifying them. It made me thing so much of your dear man.

  5. That photo is lovely and does indeed look like a portal, into another world? Reminds me of a children's novel.

    I'm glad but unsurprised that you're busy. I'm also glad that there is a light at the end of the trump tunnel, may his exit be as speedy as goose shit:)

  6. You and your husband inspire me in so many ways. The way you work side-by-side is what I always hoped R and I would do. The creative energy you have when working on a book spills over into my life, and I am grateful for that. Thanks to your daughter for the portal-to-something-good photo!

  7. what a great picture and yeah, how did that form? so glad you have work. I miss the commission work and the occasional extra income sometimes but jobs were getting fewer and further between and I did not want to hit the pavement and besides, the husband's health, his lungs, were/are still an issue. now that I wrote that I don't think I miss the work at all, just the extra income.

  8. I love the title of this post, a reference to a moment connected in the here and now and as well as into the past and faraway lands. So glad that your work is still happening and that it sparks ideas and more creativity.
    Your daughter's photo is truly beautiful. Reminds me of one I took many years ago in the forest of the Sierra foothills. As the sun rises in the sky, the corresponding anti-solar point lowers below the horizon and so the rainbow lowers in the sky. It does look like a magical portal!

  9. I'm so glad to read of anyone's respite from anxiety and craziness -- this post is cozy and peaceful and hopeful and beautiful. And that photo is magical!

  10. What a great photo! I'm glad you've both found a way to travel the world when real travel is impossible -- and though you're in different destinations, you're doing it together!

  11. I love that your husband is identifying fish and updating locations from the comfort of your living room. It all sounds warm and cozy.

  12. I dropped by your blog this morning, after a long absence, happy and relieved to find you here and still sharing your beautiful words and images. Over the years, I drawn much inspiration, joy and comfort from your stories. Your voice settles me and invites me into an appreciation of the things and people I love most. Thank you for your autenticity and for sharing yourself here. May you and your family have health and happiness this season.