Novelist as shrink

So I’m re-reading Sweet Salt Air and seeing remarks about my characters’ emotional baggage.  Take this brief excerpt.  Charlotte, the main voice in Sweet Salt Air, is trying to explain to her BFF Nicole why she has never married.

“What terrifies me,” Charlotte said in a measured way, speaking from the heart as she couldn’t with anyone else, “is falling hard, getting hurt, and having to put my life back together again.”

“Like you did growing up.”

A watershed moment for SWEET SALT AIR

I do try to blog several times a week, but it’s been ten days since my last post, and you loyal readers have Sweet Salt Air to blame.  I’ve reached a critical point in the book – three hundred pages done, with the final climactic hundred ready to go.  But … but … but …

Several sticking points.  First, there’s a medical angle to this story, and though I’ve been working with a doctor in the Midwest since last summer, it’s suddenly showtime.  That means re-reading everything he sent, making (another) list of questions for him, and, most importantly, firming up my timeline.

Why do I blog?

Let me make one thing clear.  I don’t blog to express a political opinion.  As a novelist, my taking a stand on anything political or religious is disastrous.  When I talked here last week about civil discourse, it was to vent not about what we say but how we say it.

So there you go – one reason why I blog.  I blog to vent about something, be it civil discourse, airport security, or plastic bags.

But there are other reasons.  I mean, it’s not like I’m sitting around with nothing to do.  I have to put blogging on my calendar, or else it gets lost in the shuffle of the daily writing, in this case, of Sweet Salt Air.

Why is everyone talking at once?

Call me old fashioned, but I want to hear what other people have to say, which is why I hate it when I hear voices talking over each other.  It’s disrespectful.  It’s impolite.  It’s deafening.

But, of course, that’s the point.  Those voices don’t want to hear other voices.  They think theirs is the only voice that matters.  It’s the only one that’s right.

Did I peg it?  Is this what’s wrong with our political system right now?  And I’m talking both sides of the aisle – so if you’re going to accuse me of being a leftist from Massachusetts, save your breath.  I’m one woman who believes in freedom for all.

The how-to of collecting maple sap

Have you ever had pure maple syrup?  Once you have, the other never quite works for you again.  Pure maple syrup is deep in color, rich in taste, goes down slowwwww-ly, and lingers wherever it lands.  It is sweet without containing the kinds of processed sugars we’re told to avoid, which makes it a super treat.

I’m a native New Englander.  My first childhood memories of pure maple anything were of the little maple sugar candies that my parents brought back from vacations up north.  These came in a box of four or six and were shaped like pine cones, maple leaves, or trees.  Put one in your mouth, and it melts, just like that.  I have newer memories of maple products, but more on that in a sec.

A glow-in-the-dark passie? You’ve got to be kidding.

Let me be clear.  I hate the look of a pacifier in a child’s mouth – hated it when my kids were little, hate it now that their kids are little.  I like seeing that little mouth and hate having it hidden.  I also like the convenience of a thumb.  Pop it in, take it out and smile without worry of dropping it on the supermarket floor.

That said, I saw the bright side of passie use during our last visit with our nine-month-old granddaughter.  We were having a birthday dinner, nine of us eating after the baby was asleep, and, naturally, there were bursts of noise.  During one, the baby woke up and began to cry.