Where you been, John?
Posted Oct 5, 2008
Last Updated Oct 19, 2008
WHERE YOU BEEN, JOHN?
For some weeks, my attention was largely in 18th century Scandinavia, as I worked again on a historical novel, ARMFELT: a story of the Great Northern War. I've worked on it from time to time for years, researching, visiting story sites, visiting antiquarian bookstores in Stockholm and Helsinki, writing character and event sketches, early chapters… Everything slowed by a serious lack of substantive material in English, and my slow and laborious reading of Swedish and Norwegian. I'd even finished, and posted, 22 chapters on my author site (Armfelt) And it seemed like time to complete a preliminary draft.
Which is now with my agent, for her comments. When I have those, I can write a submission draft.
Meanwhile I'd been having thoughts (even conscience pangs) about another project, a soft historical novel set in the Great Depression (it opens in 1932), in a backwoods settlement in the Minnesota border region, which I have fictionalized as "Tea River." I have lots of memories, a book of local newspaper clippings, a local history, the county history, and a book of anecdotal medical adventures; the author refers to it as a memoir of a frontier doctor. And I have memories from other, more or less similar backwoods colonies in Upper Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and Minnessota's Lake Superior shore. Stories that can be transferred nicely.
There are advantages to spending a few youthful years as an itinerant laborer.
It's beginning to come together well enough, I can put it on the back flue to simmer awhile, and get more blogs written. Even while working on ARMFELT and TEA RIVER TALES, I sometimes pecked out thoughts for blog posts. Which in my case tend to become somewhat developed essays. I'll have two of them posted (he vowed. Ha!) within the week coming up. One will be political, and a bit contrarian.
The other will be the 5th installment in a series called "About Aging." The first two introduced the subject; the third described my mom's long decline with senile dementia (presumably Alzheimer's disease); and the fourth described my wife's severe physical decline through a series of strokes.
The fifth will open the story of my own aging, a work in progress that, even incomplete, I trust will be thought- provoking.
When I first contemplated blogging, I read a book about it. And learned that if you want to "make something" of your blog, you should post on it frequently, preferably daily. Which is implied, actually, in the original term — "web log." Otherwise folks forget to check in on it. But I write slowly, and writing fiction is my business, so mostly the current novel gets top priority. I may post logs twice a week, or twice a month, or… Last June I posted four times, and nothing since, and today is Oct 5! That makes three months without a post.
What kind of blogger does that, John?
Well, it's this way: I'd be pleased to have lots of visitors, lots of readers. But for me, writing is how I sort out, and fill in, my thinking on many issues. Sometimes the results take me by surprise. That's how I grow.
So I write. And when I'm going along well on a project, I sometimes don't want to transfer my focus. Then there is the matter of living: preparing meals, doing laundry, going to the store, doing email (I belong to a couple of lists), working out…and at my age (82) you get — sloooow. I even get out of my car slowly, though getting in isn't bad.
Anyway my mind still functions, as best I can tell..
Meanwhile I hope to meet you again soon, on this site.