Image: The waterfalls down the street from us.
Wednesday, January 7
There are still many decisions to make on We Meet in Dreams: the order of certain chapters, the names of stories, how much to add to the manuscript, weighing the suggestions made by the editor ... Not to mention then putting in all the corrections and adding new passages of writing. Diana wants the manuscript in a few weeks, to format ... After that point I will not be able to make many changes, if any. Diana is drowning in her work for the University where she teaches; and appropriately perhaps, some pipes burst overhead, dripping down into the lower rooms of her house. Apparently Dallas is having uncommonly cold weather just now.
As she puts it, frogs are jumping out of the wheelbarrow - i.e. she has much too much to do at the moment.
Tuesday, January 12
Save for shoveling the walks at 4:30 or so a.m., I spent all of last night into the early morning working on We Meet in Dreams - and then started today around 10:30 a.m., and worked straight through until dinnertime. Just returned from supper in town with M. It snowed all day today, small thin fluffy flakes that melt almost as soon as they touch the earth. They have been floating so effortlessly and gently in the wind, like the white specks in the small snow globes we had as children. Today I basically only stopped working on the book long enough to go downstairs and have a glass of water, and to let the piano tuner in. For an hour and a half I reread manuscript and typed to the beautiful sounds of my seven foot Steinway grand piano being tuned, one long, extended, ringing infinite note after another, bass to treble. The highest notes were like small bells. When the piano workmen tune, they alter the sounds from flat to sharp and back again, until they find the correct pitch and timbre - an entire universe in each tone ... I could listen endlessly to this very beautiful and magical meditation in the downstairs rooms, tones wafting up the stairs.
I am all but done with this round of corrections and writing. Then I will send the ms back to the editor, and then the final corrections before handing it over to Diana. Before sending it off to the editor I must first make a list of all the footnotes, in an e-mail for Diana - for some reason the footnotes do not send with the rest of the manuscript. This footnote task will take quite a bit of time and effort; both Diana and I dread footnotes, for our own separate reasons. I dread footnotes because I must find them in the manuscript and then send them to her, in order, and then must tell her precisely where they all go in the manuscript. This is a great deal of work. Diana not only has to decipher my instructions and then search for where they go in the manuscript, but also tangles with technical problems when she goes to format them. Which is a shame because I find footnotes very interesting and fun to write. In the main, writing the book is the easy part; the hard part is putting in all the correction, checking the manuscript every step of the way towards printing. In the end it is always hard to tell where anything is in the book, what has been said where, if it has been said inadvertently more than once - or if it has been said at all. Basically: one wonders if anything is in the right place and if any of the ideas are helpful or new because now they have all been read and reread, worked and reworked so many times. Sometimes I look at a simple sentence I have written and wonder at every word - they all begin to lose any sense of meaning or rhythm or creativity whatsoever ... Which is the perfect time to send it off to be published; at that juncture my work is done and its worth is now based on faith, faith that when I wrote those words something higher than my personal self was working through me onto the page.
I must admit that I am almost at that point now.
And since Diana is still formatting Visits With Angels, all my e-mails to her about We Meet in Dreams are temporarily stuck in a folder named ‘Book Dreams’ in my inbox.
A quick glance out the computer room window, snow still falling in the lamplight, slowly, gently, like small stray thoughts ...
Organized and e-mailed the footnotes to Diana, to file away until she is ready for them. Finished typing in the corrections and writing passages. Put the corrected manuscript in a binder and left it on our back porch for the editor. She will pick it up tomorrow afternoon. For the moment at least - I am finished with the manuscript.
Diana wrote, she has put off working on Visits With Angels for another week or so. I keep hearing Brahms; took out some old scores and read through them. Rhapsodies, and Intermezzi Op. 117 and 118; a Ballade. Decided to give a concert of all Brahms, maybe in the spring. Brahms has the clarity and sensitivity of Mozart or Schubert, and at times the depth of Mahler - both extremes, and often enough within the same piece. For instance, the Rhapsody Op.79 No.1. Marked agitato, the initial main theme of the exposition, and its variations and extensions, are powerful, ringing, full orchestra. And yet the soft, lyric sections in that piece are as fragile and as clear as glass ... Which makes them all the more poignant, astounding - as though we have just stepped into a new realm ... a realm filled with beautiful crystals ...