So there I was, at breakfast today, chowing down my regular oatmeal and yogurt on a regular weekday with regular summer weather (unlike the recent scorchers). But something was oddly out of whack. No construction noise. I checked out the window and this is what I saw: lots of steel and concrete and not a living soul. Hey, where’d everybody go?
Builders build. That’s the way things are supposed to work. For months now, that’s what I’ve come to expect from the Janey II crew: five days a week, and sometimes on Saturday, from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. at least. Bonking, banging, clanging, whirring, slamming, whamming, and the occasional BOOM! This morning’s quiet was unnerving.
Builder’s block? The silence reminded me of remarks attributed to Philip Pullman about the dreaded syndrome known as “writer’s block.”
Writer’s block…a lot of howling nonsense would be avoided if, in every sentence containing the word WRITER, that word was taken out and the word PLUMBER substituted; and the result examined for the sense it makes. […]
Today I put aside my competition with the construction crew of The Janey II. No way can I write the next scene in Book Three, as I remember Margot Adler, who took time from her life last year to write a review of my most recent book, The Ninth Day. She called the story “riveting.” Who could ask for more?
Still, I did.
I was hoping to meet Margot in person this fall during the reunion of participants in the 1964 Free Speech Movement. I wanted to thank her again, this time in person. I wanted her to autograph one of her books, Heretic’s Heart. I wanted, and I wanted, and I wanted.
Margot and I are not destined to meet in this lifetime, as she died yesterday. From what I understand of Margot’s Wiccan beliefs, she has made the crossing into another aspect of the continuum which, now that I think of it, is not so different from the universe-eternity olam I write about in Blue Thread and The Ninth Day. […]
The construction crew has been busy since early July, and so have I. Look at all these apartments-to-be in the Janey II. Their erector-set walls and ceilings will turn into living spaces for someone, real homes with a kitchen and bed and bathroom, and maybe a corgi curled up on a corduroy couch.
I’m building habitations, too, only not the physical kind. These last couple of weeks I’ve laid down the basics of four chapters in which Book Three characters talk and eat and tease and grieve. Like the Janey II apartments, these chapters of mine need a lot more labor before I’m satisfied that the characters in them are fully alive. I’ll have to add more emotion, more action, more color, more atmosphere. Then Viva Scriva will have a go at the chapters. By the time we’re done, there won’t be a corgi on the couch (no dogs are evoked in Book Three, at least not so far), but I can tell you that my characters will be moving about in a world as complete as I can make for them. […]