Cookouts and Changing Seasons

Thursday, March 25, 2010
In February 2005, I sat on the bus on my way back to my cottage after the first weekend trip of my semester abroad in County Mayo, Ireland. As I watched the stark winter landscape pass by, I started to wonder what it would be like to truly come home to this harshly beautiful place where trees only grow on the side of the hills safe from sea breeze. Those musings turned into a short story which turned into a rough draft of a novel and on Tuesday, turned into a completely revised (and hopefully logical and compelling) first draft. Now the printout sits in a three-ring binder: it’s a little bit like having an elephant in the room.

In a month of so, I will return to the three-ring binder. I will read the novel over in its entirety and make tweaks and edits. Then it’s time to research agents and write queries and synopses. Five years of work (there were some interruptions), and the hard part’s still in front of me!

Andy’s had the last couple days off so we’ve been out and about. The spring weather seems to have inspired something akin to “touring season.” We’ve spent a good portion of recent free time popping in to catch up with various family members.

Although the weather has turned colder this week and yesterday evening it decided to spit rain and snow, it still look a lot more like May than March outside. So on Tuesday we went for hike. We walked about a ½ mile down an old road bed and then we climbed to the top of a huge boulder.

It was quite the view.

Andy’s been waxing poetic about cookouts for a while now. The plan has been to have a cookout when the walleyes start to run in May. But since it was a sunny 55 degrees on Tuesday, it seemed silly to delay a cookout. We threw together some kebabs and beans in the Shack kitchen and headed over to our neighboring campground. Andy built up a fire with birch wood and we got the beans burbling happily and kebabs grilling.

When the sun went down, the temperatures dropped a bit, but that was okay: there was a fire to huddle around.
March 23rd is absurdly early for even the earliest season cookout. There’s still quite a few inches of ice covering the lake, but along the shore, it can be hard to tell where land, water, ice and sky separate. The ice is reaching a state of rot that inspires people to start making bets on when the ice will go out.

Worked my last night shift last night. I tucked the tip money away in the envelope of funds for the Pacific Northwest trip.

I have several articles to work on today as well as some other freelance work. After a couple days of play, it’s hard to get myself back on task. Without the focal point of the novel to lend structure to my writing days, I’m feeling a little adrift. But those are just excuses. The work won’t get done unless I do it.

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