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Thursday, July 26, 2007
Rhapsody on Somebody Else's Superior Vocabulary, Part 5
Jentel Artist Residency Program
The place we go to get cell reception, by the mysterious cairn in the high pasture, is a half mile down Lower Piney Creek Road, up a long steep grade dividing irrigated pastures where herds of antelope graze and spook as I bike by. The sprinklers labor on through this wet week. The Democratic governor was in the paper the other day talking about the weird weather, probably referring to the stretch of heat in the upper nineties and low 100s. Even the Republican speaker of the state house is concerned about climate change. The hills above us seem embarrassed by the rain, as though they'd rather be sere, yellow. Instead they blush green.
If I were in a different place with the novel, I would roister with my fellow residents; I've been invited. If I were in a different life, maybe I would relax. Instead, I rewrite my novel, every word of it, starting with a blank Word document. I am re-outlining it, every chapter, every theme, every referent and symbol. I'm using 4x6 cards for this, and in idle moments I cycle through them, a mesmeric exercise, watching the whole work tick by like a flip book. Four parts, thirteen chapters each. There go my themes, my allusions, my migrainous hero, his disintegrating vanities, my new vocabulary words.
One of my note cards reads: I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever write another novel. But I will finish this one.
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