Fried Pies and Plotless Novels

Two things especially bring me comfort this morning as I start back in to work on this novel.

Yesterday, Jim and I drove into the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. Bliss. We encountered pumpkins, blueberry cider, hoop cheese, hayrides, apple slingshots, old-fashioned Coke machines, a long line for peach ice cream, and a waterfall. And fried pies. Lots of fried pies. I brought you pictures. You can see them here, on my Picasa web album page.

The second thing comforting me this morning is this article in my beloved Washington Post about Marilynne Robinson and her new novel, Home, which is a finalist for the National Book Award.

I loved Gilead so much I read it twice, slowly, savoring its every carefully-chosen word. Then I went to Iowa City for a week and worked in Iowa City schools (hey, y'all!) last November and squelched my impulse to fangeek in Robinson's neighborhood. (Thank you, Barb Stein -- I still remember you offering to do a drive-by!) Now I have Home to read and can't wait.

Here is one of my favorite lines from the Washington Post feature:

"Plot. Not a word I use," she says. "Some people think it's not a concept I have."

Hahaha. I so identify with this feeling! And here I study plot, right and left, up and down, backwards and forwards. I want to learn from Marilynne Robinson. I want to study how she does it. She makes it seem effortless, and I know it's not.

Yesterday was just what my soul ordered. I'm facing an intense week of writing. My mind is clear, my spirit is willing.

In the car yesterday, I scribbled four pages of notes in my notebook. Thoughts re-arranged themselves as the mountains appeared, the blue sky rolled out in front of me, and the wide autumn sunshine washed over everything. I think the boiled peanuts helped, too.

Saturday I slept. Yesterday, I got outta town. Today --
I've got my notes, my laptop, my coffee and a freshly-swept mind. I am rested. Back to work.

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