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Thursday, August 18, 2005

WRITING AT THE LAKE

"Wind over lake: the image of inner truth."
I Ching (The Book of Changes) Hex. 61 Chung Fu ("Inner Truth")

I've just returned from four lovely days at the Lake, a reunion with my grandson and daughter and, it turned out, other friends of my daughter and her partner including one of the girls who used to live with us some years ago. A merry gang, 14 the first night and 18 for dinner the last night, ranging from the age of 5 and up. Kids sleeping everywhere. A real camp-out, though the 'cabin' was really a large house, lake-front. Lots of fun was had by all, especially the kids in the lake, tubing and swimming. And best of all, for me, seeing my grandson after such a long time! (He's visiting from California.)

I took along the newest part of the novel that I had roughed in last week and hoped the Muse might visit me while I was there. Sure enough, as usual I get brain-waves while swimming -- have to rush to shore and quickly jot lines of narrative, dialogue and description down. Then, one afternoon as I sat alone in the sun lazing in the 'director's chair' by the lake-side, great ideas began to formulate in my sun-drenched brain.

I'd been stymied by where this last chapter was leading, thought I'd written myself into a blank wall, complicated things. Wondered if I'd have to take it all apart and go a different direction with it. But no, there was the solution: a few paragraphs of narrative showing me the way. ( How to get my characters from Pella to the old palace of Aigai without having to go into lengthy details which I'd rather save for the next part of the novel.) Tada! And I got them there, no fuss, no side-tracks. Well, at any rate, I jotted it all down in my notebook (didn't have to rush up out of the lake water to do it either). Such a satisfying feeling!

So now I'm home again and will resume my work on the novel tomorrow with a fresh outlook, renewed vitality and great ideas provided by my Muse! (And thanks to the Lake, too!)

"I took the lake between my legs." Maxine Kumin (1925 - ) "Morning Swim"

"All good writing is swimming underwater and holding your breath."
Francis Scott Fitzgerald 1896-1940 (undated letter)

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