Image: Our back garden in the storm.
Friday, January 6
Dinner with Johnny and Peg; they brought dinner here, from the Souvlaki House. Peg and I settled in on the big living room couch, and Johnny sat on meditation cushions across from us. Brought in some kitchen chairs to use as rudimentary tables. A picnic of sorts, and something we had never done. Afterwards we threw out the various containers and bags our meals came in, washed the dishes, put the chairs back - and then spoke for hours, on many divers and interesting topics. Johnny’s Irish baritone voice is close to music, both in timbre and inflection - and deep and vibrant, like a Welshman’s.
Friday, January 13
Our first real day of snow - big, fluffy flakes everywhere in the wind. The gardens and trees sparkling fairylands. Spent a good deal of the day looking out the windows to watch the snow’s progress; tomorrow night it is supposed to go down to 2 degrees. Winter has finally arrived.
Decided to learn the four Impromptus Opus 142 by Franz Schubert. I had already been working on learning and memorizing the 3rd Impromptu of the series, a set of variations; last night read through the others and one is more beautiful than the next ... Schubert reached deep into the stars, the stellar realms, for those melodies and harmonies .... I am always first struck by the simplicity and clarity of his ideas. Perhaps that is one reason why his music so reminds me of the stars ...
Wrote Diana and asked how she is progressing with the book.
Sunday, January 15
Diana wrote: she is addressing a renegade endnote. I told her to ignore it.
Monday, January 16
Another e-mail from Diana:
Thank you for saying it's okay to ignore the uncategorized endnote I found. That will make my process easier. I'm going to finish the conversion of the endnotes today – finding them throughout the manuscript, converting them to the "superscript" numbers (tiny & sitting above the baseline) and then changing their color from red to black. As soon as that's done, I'll send you the entire manuscript, at which point you can double-check the continuity of the TOC pg numbers, story sequences & titles... as well as double-check the endnotes, if you like (tho' honestly I doubt that the checking of endnotes is necessary since only size & color are being changed from the *last* time you checked them). I could go ahead and send it now, before the endnotes are converted, if you like... but my inclination is to have you check thru the entire manuscript at least once more, so it would make sense to wait for the endnotes. Your choice!
I told her that I would wait until she is entirely done before I reproof the book. And then I will contact the publisher. When at this stage with the last book, Realms of Light, by the time Diana and I had finished our work our publishing team had changed and we had to start over again from the beginning with a new team.
A new message from Diana tonight: I'm on endnote 48... moving along! Gasp!! I have found several mistakes while browsing thru the manuscript for endnotes.... words that ran together ("Othertimes") and paragraphs ended & begun without spaces between them.
With all the times Diana and I - and my editors - proofed this volume, it seems inconceivable that there could still be errors. And yet there they indisputably are.
Tuesday, January 17
An e-mail from Diana. She finally finished the endnote modifications and the Table of Contents; she changed the tiny sun icons in the Table of Contents to newly created moon icons, since the book is about dreams. She intends to redo the sun icon on the Dedication page. Diana thoughtfully added: Don't worry, this doesn't take long!
Then the end pages which she expects to tackle today, and her goal is to be done with the entire project by her birthday on Thursday. She ended with: I realize now that I am always hesitant to let the final book files out of my hands. It's good to finish a project –especially such a big one– but it's like your kid leaving home for college... you know it's time to let go, but there's a sentimental urge to hang on 'cause so much love has gone into the creation.
On my end, after I finish a big project I can’t wait to send it out into the world. So I am glad my beautiful friend Diana has decided to wrap things up this week. Of course, then I need to reproof the entire book - and Heaven knows what I will find and what added corrections will emerge.
An e-mail from my friend Patrice: she intends to come for some months next fall and might have already found a wonderful furnished room a mere few blocks from us.
Just came back from a walk. A wild, windy night. Over forty degrees, but with the wind’s ferocity all around me I wore my winter jacket with the hood up. The recent snow sparkling in the lamplight now replaced with remnants of the day’s rain. Huge fluffy clouds, a star here and there in the gaps. No moon. No people. The houses in Ithaca are mainly wooden and very old, with diverse porches and various embellishment - and interesting, unusual architecture; rarely are two houses alike. All sizes and shapes, coexisting without a murmur. Tonight lit Christmas trees still in some windows; most windows dark, asleep. The lit windows here and there beckoning, inviting the imagination to wonder who lives there, what the people are doing; I always think people are happy inside those unknown lit rooms. Strands of Christmas lights still on some houses. Said prayers for Our Lady’s Intentions for the world as I walked and looked and wondered at my fellow beings, warm and protected in their homes on such a frenzied night. The Spensers had taken down their Christmas decorations, but still have candles in the windows. Inside again, the night is again quiet, calm - no hint of the outer unquiet. Strangely, I long to be outside once more, and might take another walk later, after some of my tasks are done.
Just looked at my e-mails. Diana has sent me the Table of Contents and endnotes to correct. She said she found a few format errors and suggested I check the entire file again.
Wednesday, January 18
Sent Diana a few stray corrections: a spacing here or there, font problems, endnote problems. Told her I would print the file and reproof the entire manuscript.
An e-mail from my student in Trinidad; in spite of his immense philosophic training and intellectual understanding, he is still having trouble understanding the very Nature of the Quest he is on. He wrote:
"I do not see the spiritual connection in all these trials." meaning his troubles at home and at work.
I wrote an e-mail back : Welcome to the Quest! These trials ARE the Quest ... Otherwise all you have read and done is untried, untested. It is time to integrate, to LIVE the Quest. xxx
Thursday, January 19
A cold, windy day. Did errands with JF. Printing up We Meet in Dreams now, and will proof the entire thing for the last time. Meanwhile, Diana is at Crush Lake, meditating. During the winter of 2009, while she was working on Realms of Light, she had a dream that she drove to a little lake and meditated there. When she awoke, she remembered the name of the lake. She wrote:
It was an odd name that I'd never heard of, a name that really didn't even make sense for a lake. As soon as I woke up I looked up the name of the lake on the internet, and to my astonishment it turned out to be a short drive from Dallas, about an hour & 20 minutes east of here!! It is a mere speck on the map but still, it's a lake! And it was the ONLY "Crush Lake" that appeared on my internet search. The nearest town is named "Thermo." I never heard of either of these totally obscure places, so there's no way the name of Crush Lake could've been lurking in the back of my mind somewhere. This was out of the blue! Ever since then, I've wanted to go meditate at Crush Lake. So I've decided now that I am (almost) finished with the 4th book (4th and final in the series), it is time to go to Crush Lake.
I wrote Diana, wished her luck, sent angels - and added that as a birthday present I hoped I would not find any more errors in the manuscript.
The book is still printing up, and I am punching holes as it prints so I can put these updated pages in the big three-ringed binder downstairs. Must remember to check the folios as well as everything else this last time around. Diana and I worked on the wording of the artist’s page last night, and chose a photograph. But she still has a few end pages left to put together and format. Aside from any corrections I might send her, Diana should be done with her work on the book within a day or two. My work - will take longer.
Printing and punching are done; all 284 or so pages of We Meet in Dreams are now residing in the big three-ringed binder downstairs, patiently waiting for me to begin. This volume is almost a hundred pages longer than Visits With Angels, which will affect the price. A bridge to be crossed later. Meanwhile, I had better begin.
Have been working steadily for many hours. I am not a good proof reader. I always begin the task by trying to examine every word, every space, every spelling and punctuation - and before I am aware of it, I am instead lost in the ideas. Found only a few errors, and all of them are related to ideas or formatting: incorrect end notes, incorrect information, font problems. For all I know words could be missing, or doubled, or spelt incorrectly throughout the manuscript. For this I have to trust in Diana’s work and the editors that went through the text twice or three times previously.
I am exhausted.
And Diana will be at the same time pleased and not pleased that I have more corrections. I will wait until I have finished the entire manuscript and then send her all the corrections in one e-mail.
Friday, January 20
Diana found Crush Lake (of her dream) and meditated there on her birthday, with a friend. She wrote: It was pristine blue, oval in shape with a fringe of pine trees. I could imagine this being a gentle place where a Native American tribe might've lived... So I said a prayer of protection for the dear little lake, and I thanked it for its beautiful spirit. Whether her Quest re Crush Lake was fulfilled or not, she writes that the lake called to her in her dream - and she went. “So, in a way I can't define, my mission was fulfilled.”
Monday, January 23
Sent Diana all my corrections. She plans to finish everything within the week. Then I will check all the corrections, as well as her new end pages, before we send the manuscript to the publisher. I suppose we could endlessly continue to make corrections and changes if we wished - in fact, I could rewrite the entire book. Unlike my piano concerts for live audiences, which are recorded only in our quickly fading memory - a book is printed, frozen on paper. Once printed - there it is. And yet in many ways that is its very beauty ... That we can open a book and find the same words there, in the same order, unfolding in the same way each time we read it ...
Almost fifty degrees outside tonight; just returned from an hour long walk. This must be our January thaw, following a few days of early morning below zero weather. It rained again today, and when I opened the front door tonight I was met with the roar of the falls. Irresistibly drawn to it, a few minutes later I was standing on the bridge, in the mist, facing the falls and the gorge, with a warm breeze swirling around me, shadows everywhere, and a few stars in the gaps overhead. I continued walking, the only sounds my own inevitable footsteps on the pavement and the sound of the falls following me as I wove my way through the various streets. I rarely meet another human on these winter nocturnal strolls. Tonight I passed a striped orange cat walking next to a skunk on the sidewalk; gave them both Our Lady’s Blessing from Medjugorje and then continued on my way. The sky mainly clouds ... A damp, mysterious, mystical night ... When I finally reentered our front door the warmth and cheeriness of the kitchen, and the small clear Christmas lights in the windows a stark contrast to the night’s lack of colour ... And yet I am tempted to again put on my jacket and scarf, walk down the streets again with my friends the wind and stars and night clouds, under the mantle of night’s magical darkness and mist ...