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Newsletter Dated: 7/14/2010 7:01:48 AM
Subject: A Rainy Day in Maine
I am writing this on a rainy day in Ogunquit Maine. Ogunquit is on the southern rocky coast; Bonnie and I first vacationed here in 1975. We came back every year for a couple of decades and then sporadically and not at all for the last 6 - 7 years.
When we came in 1976, Bonnie was pregnant with our first daughter, Rachel. This year we are here with Rachel and Tony’s first daughter, Gianna, who turned one on July 5. This is our first Maine vacation as grandparents; it’s the first such vacation for our daughter, Emily, as an aunt and Tony’s brother, Joey, as an uncle. Gianna doesn’t know it, but she has changed all of us. These things happen because of love and time.
Also since the last time I wrote, I have retired. On June 25 I left my office for the last time, came home, took off my watch and haven’t put it on again. As if I can actually ignore time. But it’s fun to try. I have “retired” yet I prefer to say I have stopped doing one thing so I can go on to do others.
In my last newsletter, I mentioned that the question at the heart of my new novel (Chimney Bluffs) is: What do people do when they are on the edge, literally and figuratively? And why do they do it? The edge that I am exploring in the novel is related to the death of a child, perhaps the most difficult of all of life’s edges. What I am facing in my life is nowhere near as challenging as that, and yet I feel myself again standing on one of life’s edges trying to understand the path behind me and to discern the path ahead.
When I was a full - time preacher, this was one of my favorite themes. In particular, I liked the story of Abraham as told in Hebrews where it says that when God called Abraham, Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was to go.” I think that much of our lives are lived this way - - - - going out, not knowing - - - - and we do it with fear and excitement, trepidation and trust, doubt and hope. In the balance is the meaning of our lives, which, at bottom, is the most fundamental theme of Chimney Bluffs.
In recent weeks, my writing has been sporadic. Retirement has been busier than I anticipated. I am at the 50 page (15,000+ word) mark, one of the key road signs in any novel I write. I am still working hard getting to know Clancy, Mitch and Kate. As for the boy, Danny, whose death organizes the plot, we are merely acquaintances at this point. I am working and reworking the narrative, shifting the back - stories to bring them in line with where the story appears to be headed, so that, in the end, it all makes sense.
As for Charlie No Face, my editor is doing one final read - through before it goes to the publisher. It is being spit polished. Initial thoughts on the cover have been shared. As I said before, an August release is impossible now. We look towards fall.