As of tomorrow I’m at the halfway point for my desert retreat in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Eleven days in; eleven days to go. That’s 12+ hours/day, six days a week editing, revising, shuffling and rewriting. In silence. Without interruptions or distractions. Without internet access. Without excuses!
It’s been a productive stretch despite the fact that my manuscript is still bloated and desperate for a liposuction/stomach staple two-for-one… But I’ve discovered the heart and soul of my story, and the next two weeks I’ll perform ruthless, unsentimental surgery, cutting away all nonessential narrative. With luck and endurance I’ll return from the desert at month’s end with a svelte memoir.
I spent the first week focusing on the most enjoyable sections, and last week I dug into the darker sections. Death, depression, failures, violations. It was a tough week. A proverbial roller coaster ride. More like a bucking bronco ride. I’m feeling whiplashed and bruised today, but licking my wounds in Santa Fe.
Each Saturday I’ve driven two hours from the Chama canyonlands to the city where I lived from 1996-9. I re-provision, de-soil my laundry and pig out on delicious New Mexican food. And after a week without telephone or internet access, I spend hours on the phone with my amazing bride. My generous, understanding bride who’s tolerating my time at the hermitage. I offer my deepest gratitude to this woman who transformed my world over a decade ago, the woman who’s allowing me to share our sometimes beautiful, sometimes disturbing and always intimate story.
Thanks also to the Benedictines for use of their handsome hermitage and to my colleagues at The Depot Theatre and Champlain Area Trails for letting me vanish for sooooo long. The last couple of weeks have reminded how much I love Scrivener, so thanks to the good folks at Literature and Latte for simplifying my work on Rosslyn Redux. And thanks to all of you who’ve encouraged and pushed me. Now it’s time to jump in my jalopy and head back to the desert for another productive week. Cheers!
- Antigua, AWP and Abiquiu (virtualdavis.com)
- Remembering and Recounting (rosslynredux.com)
- Redacting Rosslyn v1.0 (rosslynredux.com)