6 days, who needs sleep?

Wow. It got ugly fast. I could not, for the life of me, make myself stick with copy edits yesterday. This is my way; why does it always surprise me? Is it fear? Revulsion? An inate need to nest before the big job?

It's like this: When I first get a manuscript back, I have to look at the whole thing, read comments page by page (which takes hours in itself, and which I did on Friday), and then let it cool. Let it steep. Go for a walk.
Yesterday I walked a fer piece... all the way to Kudzu (okay, I drove, in Miss Daisy). I stayed there for hours. They know me, they love me, I love them, my home is a shrine to my dealer friends (!) and "my assistant" Charles (thank you for the Co-Cola yesterday!) and owners George and Kate Lawes and all the wonderful finds I've hauled home (thank you, Calvin) in the five years I've lived in Hotlanta.

Yesterday I was clearly into glassware.
But I digress.

By the time I wrangled myself back to the pink chair, it was dark. By the time I really got into the manuscript, it was 11:30pm. I had spent hours trying to find a reliable source for the price of a gallon of gas in 1962.
Then I scoured my slang sources (I also have a "dweeb" problem, and a note from my editor: "Good catch! A more 1962-appropriate insult, please!") and ended up reading The History of Insults in English and making myself a list of possibilities. I read through your mail! So much mail yesterday -- all of it helpful. Thanks for all the suggestions and great ideas. I ended up substituting "weirdo" for "dork."

And... the shoes remain square. Stet. I think the reader will get it in context.
It got interesting... nay, fascinating!... and I found myself having a professional, meaty conversation with my amazing copy editor, right there in track changes, as I crawled through page after page and hour after hour. (You can enlarge any screen shot by clicking on it to see that conversation.)

The way pin curls were made, the advent of Stride Rite shoe stores, how to handle photo captions (or to include them at all), too many fonts? too many itals? stet! stet! stet!
I especially liked the conversation about why Franny's family does dishes by hand, even though they have a dishwasher... this was in three queries.
Okay to delete this comma? Was there a 7-Eleven in Camp Springs, Maryland in 1962? The actual name of the base hospital is the Malcolm Grow Medical Center -- was it Malcolm Grow Hospital in 1962? Was there a McDonald's across from Andrews Air Force Base in 1962? Cannot verify but don't think there was but one size of French fries in 1962. Please confirm. Okay with this transposition? Thank you, Word Wealth Junior!
After all that avoidance and fear, I sat myself down and enjoyed this more than my visit to Kudzu, and that's saying something. I loved revisiting the biographies and trying to come up with a standard format for them -- they are highly stylized and are probably a copy editor's nightmare... but we (I, responding to queries) plowed through them (two of them, anyway)... and when I stood up to stretch because my back was killing me, the birds were singing outside, and the sky was lightening into day.
133 pages. I pulled an all-nighter and did Saturday's and Sunday's pages. Which is a good thing, because today (Sunday) is a busy day. There's lots happening today, and I want to be part of it.
Perhaps I'm going to do it this way... all-nighters... at least over the weekend. By Monday I'll probably be back to days in the chair. And I still feel the pressure of the deadline -- I need to get through the copy edits in a timely fashion so I have time to read through the story and shape it -- all those niggling little stumblers need to come out -- I'll share that with you, too. Fine-toothed revision. I didn't have time for this last go-round and I'm worried about it.

But for now, to the showers. I've slept five hours, I'm good to go. I'm heading to Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia, where Kristy Dempsey will be signing her new book, Me With You at 3pm. Yay, Kristi! Congratulations!

Jim has headed back to the studio -- he begins recording his new album today. I'm the photographer. And then, supper with the band? Who knows, but it's rare to get them all together these days. Herman has flown in from D.C. There is life to be lived, even in the throes of copy edits.

Today's question for you: Who said, "Life does go on." The hint, and the surprise for readers of the Aurora County trilogy, is below.
See you tomorrow. Here's to LIFE. And Story. And those who, with their expertise, help us tell our stories well.

(Now, for "dweeb" -- nincompoop, nitwit, kook... or numbskull (my favorite). You?)

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