Hiya, Hart Beat. How are you? It’s been almost a month since I got back to Maine and I’m sitting here in the garden shed at my Grandmother’s packing up my books. Tomorrow I head back to the Berkshires and I’m sad but ready to be leaving Maine. It’s time. I need to get back to the Berkshires and knuckle down on my writing. It’s been going well, Hart Beat, although it’s been taking everything out of me every day. I get into bed at nine and am passed out with the light on and a book open on my chest every night. It’s okay because a couple of weeks ago I got a dog and he wakes me up to remind me the light is on. The pup is a one and a half-year-old Shih Tzu from Wells, Maine. He was owned by a couple before but they were stationed overseas for the military and lucky me, I got the pup. I’m calling him Mateo aka Teo aka Lil Monster because his nose (like mine) is tiny and he snorts most of the day (not like mine). He’s the perfect writing companion and as I type he is laying on the floor at my feet. I’m in love Hart Beat and have officially decided to replace men and dating with Mateo and books.
Speaking of books and writing I’ve made my way through my writing mentor’s recommendations and I would love yours if you have them. In the last post, I listed what I had read if you need to see what I’m liking (tl;dr mostly memoirs and books on writing). The ones right now that I have on my nightstand are The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir, by Ariel Levy, The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder, by Carolyn Murnick, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, What We Lose: A Novel, by Zinzi Clemons, Hard Travel to Sacred Places, by Rudolph Wurlitzer, and Committed: A Love Story, by Elizabeth Gilbert.
In return, here is a section from Still Writing, The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, and an interview with Dani Shapiro, my muse lately. The book and this interview have been what I read and watch every morning before sitting down to work.
“As I write these words, I am, of course, alone. It’s the middle oft he day and I have barely stepped outside except to pick up a couple of envelopes full of books and manuscripts that FedEx left on the pourch. I have spoken to no one since seven o’clock this morning. I am wearing the ratty T-shirt I slept in last night. The house is silent. A crow calls outside my office window.
“These solitary days are my lifeline. They are the lifeline of every writer I know. We hold on to our solitude, fiercly protect these empty days. But at the same time, we long for community…
“Though we write our books alone, ultimately everything we do involves some collaboration. Every good book you’ll ever read has the thumbprints of other writers all over it. As we finish a manuscript we may find ourselves thinking of who to turn to, who can help us…
“I reach out a hand when I can. I remind myself every day that it’s about the work. I am here in Connecticut. You might be in Missoula, Montana, or Taos, New Mexico, or Portland, Oregon. You’re in a café, or at a writers conference, or at your kitchen table. The words have come easily to you today, or you feel like your head is about to explode. You’re a household name, or laboring in obscurity. I am here, and you are there, and we are in this thing together.”
Dani Shapiro, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life
Talk soon, Hart Beat.