Image: The Point, just down the road from Windgarth.
Friday, October 8
Alone, out on the dock at Windgarth; only a lone sea gull perched on the roof of the martin house for company. The morning sun reflected on the lake brilliant beyond words, bits of moving light in a swath coming towards my feet ... Like the Light of Consciousness ... I cannot help but think of the French School of painting, the Pointillists - but the French painters could not capture the changing motion of the points of light on the water, nor the Radiance. I myself have tried and failed at both. (Although Kate Millett bought one of my paintings of light on the lake; my harpist, Myra Kovary, says Kate has it hanging on a prominent wall at ‘The Farm’. I will remember not mention to Myra that I miserably failed, although I suspect she already knows ... ) I will try again, undoubtedly, lured by the wonder and Beauty of the stars and galaxies on the surface of the lake, thrown there so effortlessly by the sun.
A beautiful day, in the mid-sixties. Warmer in the sun, burning heat even though the morning air remains cool; a slight breeze. No clouds, a gentle haze ... No deep thoughts. Just the seagull on the martin house and wonder at the Beauty all around me; the changing landscape and constellations without names traveling slowly across the lake, now collecting in a vast pool near the far hills, infinitely and ceaselessly shimmering on the water’s surface, briefly existing in the angle of the sun in relation to the water, soon to disappear, like a lost world of brilliance ...
Diana and her laptop computer are set up at the downstairs kitchen table, in the big room with its twelve windows facing the lake. She has begun formatting Section IV of Visits With Angels, after first checking our old e-mails filled with corrections and footnotes. Because we have stopped and started work on the book so many times, neither of us can remember where we are in the book, what corrections we have made, which we have yet to do. She assured me that we are now up to date - but I will check the entire book when we are through formatting these final chapters. Too many nagging doubts still remain in my mind, and must be silenced before we send the final manuscript off to the publisher. Once in the hands of the publisher, it would be far too costly to make any final changes.
Soon we will take a short break and pick up at few groceries at the intersection called Happy Landing, which boasts of a small diner, a grocery store and gas station - and a restaurant which has not been open for business for years. The intersection is only a few minutes drive from Windgarth, past the fields and the sheep, the gorge winding to the south of the small road, the simple home-made wooden stand that sells fruits and vegetables, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, on a neighbor’s front lawn, perched on the edge of the road like the sea gull on the martin house ...
We will also take a quick trip to the Amish, for fresh bread and vegetables, herbs - and a bouquet of local flowers for the downstairs kitchen table ...
But for now we continue formatting Section IV. Using measuring blocks, Diana first set the margins and various fonts and other needed measurements for the Master Page template. Then, after triple checking to make sure the story began on a right hand page - Diana plunged in. She triumphantly announced that she had begun to import the unformatted text to the first story, The Candle, from another file. After watching her set up to work, I began to realize the complexities involved - and felt a thrill as the text began to take shape on the page, in her sensitive and artistic, simple, style that I have come to know and so admire.
Amazingly, Diana has formatted all but the last two stories of the Angels volume. There was little dialogue between us - save over a stray footnote or an orphan or widow that needed fixing. (A “widow” is one word left by itself at the end of a line; an “orphan” is a sentence, or part of a sentence, stranded at the top of a page.) To fix widows or orphans most usually I am asked to either add or subtract words, or even paragraphs. This time we hit upon one of our easier solutions, that of creating “pulled quotes”. ‘Pulled quotes’ are passages or phrases from the written manuscript that are set off from the rest of the text, usually for emphasis; in my books they are in a larger font, in italics - and are a light grey instead of black. Today I was saved from rewriting or deling words or phrases I had written by a few well placed pulled quotes ...
I have already written pages of scribbles in this little notebook today. Where does it all come from? The blank page, the blank mind - and suddenly lines & patterns emerge, sentences & phrases become paintings, sketches, on the paper, like musical notes on manuscript paper - a new architecture, fragile and hung like intricate, small mobiles on the pages.
Written words in a notebook can often be more pleasing to me than their meaning, their verbal meaning. The calligraphy of writing music as well, the various pictures and geometries the notes and phrases form on the page ... As when I was a small child, before I had learned to write, before I knew and understood the symbols of letters and what they stood for. I would take an empty piece of paper and just scribble on it, trying to imitate what my parents drew on the page and possibly, hopefully the vast meaning behind the symbols, the message they contained. As an adult, the calligraphy of writing words has slowly become its own language. Like the language of music, or the many different languages I heard as a child, not understanding them all but knowing they all held meaning. And now, still easily switching from language to language - the sentences and phrases of the birds & other animals and insects, the waves & wind, the sighs and tales of tragedy & joy, boredom and excitement all around us, in every sound and sight ...
These are my thoughts now, at Windgarth, as Diana formats Visits With Angels, Section IV. Outside it is still sunny and warm, the purple asters ablaze outside the window by Diana’s table, carefree & swaying slightly in the wind.
Saturday, October 9
All the stories in Section IV. are formatted. I have printed them up and will check them later.