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January 2, 2017:

BEGINNING A NEW BOOK ON THE FIRST DAY OF A NEW YEAR, AND THE COZY GET-TOGETHER

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it was a kooky, fun, exhilarating first day of a New Year and a New Month. I got eight hours of sleep and awoke just before the alarm was to go off at eleven. Once up, I did the usual morning stuff – answered e-mails, printed out orders, and as soon as I was coherent about thirty minutes later I opened the Word document of what will hopefully be my new novel. I’d already written about a page-and-a-half about a week-and-a-half ago, after wrestling with the decision about whether to make the book first person or third person. I’d written it in the third person but began to feel I’d be better served on this book doing it in the first person. Muse Margaret and I talked about what the book was and then first/third person, and she felt, as I did, that first person sounded like the way to go.

I began by reading that page and a half that I’d written, making a lot of changes as I read through it. I really liked the opening paragraph pretty much exactly as I wrote it, but what followed seemed fragmented and not smooth – that mostly had to do with things not being in the right order for the storytelling, and I also rewrote almost the entirety of it, keeping the ideas. Then I began the new material. I wrote two pages and as I did so I began to second-guess myself about the first person style. I began to suddenly feel that it would restrict my ability to comment on things without being the character, which is a really handy thing, although not always. So, before continuing on, I read the whole three pages back to myself using the third person and I thought it might just be better to go that route. I called Muse Margaret who, at first, reacted as if my change might not be a good one, but after I’d explained my reasons, she agreed that was the way to go. But her first reaction was telling.

So, I rewrote everything in the third person and continued on, writing about six more pages for a total of eight at that point (not a full eight). I took a break and did a two-and-a-half mile jog, which felt really good. I expected Ventura Blvd. to be completely deserted but it wasn’t – all restaurants were open, all stores were open. Has it always been that way? Then it was time to get everything ready for the New Year’s Day get-together. I began boiling the water for the Wacky Noodles – two different pots – one for the wide egg noodles, one for the bow tie pasta – and while that was happening I got the table set with plates and cutlery and napkins, moved the chairs into the den and got some of the folding chairs to add to them. Then I took a shower. Then I made the two batches of Wacky Noodles. Making a double portion of the wide egg noodles was a mistake I’ll not repeat ever. Too many noodles, too hard to negotiate, plus I really needed another container of milk to get the sauce the right consistency – but it was too late for that. The bow tie pasta was much easier to do. So, the egg noodles were a little thick but they tasted fine. I put out the tuna pasta salad and the first guest, Shelly Markham, arrived at four-thirty. We got ourselves some food and caught up, which was fun. Then my pal Marshall Harvey arrived and he got food and joined us. Then Kay Cole and her ever-lovin’ Michael Lamont arrived, followed by the Havertys. We all ate and yakked and then the Shermans arrived. At that point, the conversation was so much fun and it was just the perfect combination of folks and the perfect way to start off the first day of a New Year. Soon thereafter, Robert Yacko joined us. I’d said anytime between four and eight and the party broke up literally three minutes before eight. I think everyone had a good time – certainly I had a good time and it just made me happy to have a warm and cozy four hours with people I really like.

After that, I cleaned up a bit and had a little more tuna pasta salad. There’s a LOT of that left, and I threw out all the noodles. Then I decided to write another couple of pages. I was really happy with how the style was evolving and how the flow was going, but as I wrote it was getting harder and harder to have the third person work the way I wanted it to. I don’t know why, really, but it was just becoming loaded with effort and that’s never a good thing. So, I began to second-guess my second-guessing from earlier. And so, for the second time I changed my mind (or was it the third time overall) – or I changed it enough to want to see what all ten-and-a-half pages felt like in the first person again. I did a save as and rewrote all of it in the first person and suddenly it all felt right to me – it had an immediacy that was lacking in the third person, and while the first person is limiting in certain ways, I knew my original instinct (and Muse Margaret’s, too) had been right. It just felt really good in the first person, and it made me care about the character more and it also smoothed out everything that had had too much effort in those last couple of pages. I called Muse Margaret, but she’d already gone to bed, so we’ll speak at noon today, but I know she’ll agree with me about the changed change. But I will read her the first page both ways so she can be absolutely sure. Anyway, I was very pleased to have written over ten pages on a first day, especially with all the waffling and just understanding how this book is going to work. This is brand new territory for me, just as Red Gold was brand new territory, and that, too, took me a bit of time the first day to figure out. I do think I’m now on the right road. I’m happy to be writing this book, and I did get one great idea on the jog, which resulted in one very moving paragraph, so I think I’ll be jogging as much as possible during the writing of this here book.

Today, I will, of course, be writing – I’d like to do at least eight to ten pages a day, but since this is a completely new book in a genre I’ve not done before, I don’t know if I’ll achieve that, but it is surely my goal and I will try to stick to it no matter what. I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and then I’m supping with a friend.

The rest of the week is writing, doing a show order, writing commentary, locking down some end of January dates for various and sundried things, meetings and meals, and writing, always writing.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, write, do a show order, hopefully pick up packages, jog (weather permitting), sup, and write. Today’s topic of discussion: How did you spend your New Year’s Day? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have begun the new book and happy to have had such a lovely group of people over to share the first day of the New Year with.

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