Thursday, April 25, 2013

Outta New Paltz

I'm writing this from Montreal, where I have time on my hands. I suppose that's what it looks like from somewhere or other, but I haven't seen that view yet.

I came at the invitation of my daughter, Alison, who commutes here and back from Kingston. She is pursuing a degree in French studies at Concordia University, and rearranging her life in hopes of becoming a Canadian citizen one day. Or maybe not.

It's a rather long drive to do once a week, but if you only do it occasionally, as I do, it's beautiful and a refreshing change. Alison and I had a lot to talk about this time. I prevailed on her to proofread my novel That Was Tomorrow and she presented me with her proof copy stuffed with notes and corrections--55 in all. This book has been read and proofed by others already and I certainly didn't expect many notes and corrections. I am as impressed with her eagle eye as she is with my ability to come up with new projects and usually complete them.

She's an excellent proofreader, and a good book critic. She has spent a lot of time on this trip exhorting me to put the book aside a few months, incorporate the corrections, and rethink it altogether to make it a better work of art. She says with a little polishing I will have a real gem.

I'm probably not going to do that. I've spent a couple of years with That Was Tomorrow, rewritten it almost from the ground up a few times, struggled and strained, and finally I think it's about as good as it's going to get. I'm proud that she took the time to do me the favor of reading the book, and even prouder that she's so perceptive about it, but, though she says she understands my eagerness to be done with it, I get the strong feeling that she doesn't. I feel as if I'm copping out on this, but I love my little book and feel it's a good first novel. If I never finish it there will definitely never be a second.

She is out now, taking a final exam for one of her courses. She won't be back for at least two hours, by which time I'll probably be sound asleep. I have a book to read, can do a little noodling around on the computer, and ponder mother-daughter relationships. Tomorrow we drive back home.

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