#230: The Effect is Real

I put in an offer on a house yesterday. I won’t describe it here, for now, as a lot could still happen. The offer could be rejected, the negotiations could stall, the inspection raise flags. The seller could change their mind. A lot could happen between now and having a cold set of keys in my hand. I don’t want to get too attached – too ahead of myself.

Speaking of houses. The manuscript is coming along. I’ve started a new pass, and cleaned up the first ten chapters to send to my editors. It has a title too (albeit tentative) but I’ll keep referring to it here by its codename: GRACE. That codename reminds me of something it needs more of as I work towards that first draft.

(I’m being cryptic with everything this week, I know.)

Before going to sleep each night I read a few pages of Witold Rybczyski’s Home: A Short History of an Idea. One chapter opens with a painting by Dutch master Emanuel de Witte:

Emanuel de Witte, Interior with a Woman Playing the Virginals, c. 1660

In the book Rybczyski talks about the painting’s secrets: The angle of the light showing it’s early in the day; the woman’s facial expression – tantalizingly out of view in the mirror; the hilt of a sword against the chair and the clothing tossed casually on top; and there, on the bed, barely visible in the shadows: a man with a moustache listening to the music. However:

[I]t is unlikely that de Witte’s was a depiction of an actual house; photographic as his paintings appear, they are imagined, not real. De Witte’s churches, for example, were not portraits of existing buildings; although they were based on sketches of identifiable interiors, the finished paintings combine elements from different churches. We cannot ignore, however, is that while the house may have been imagined, the effect is real, and it is above all one of extreme intimacy.

The house may have been imagined, but the effect is real. As good a description of fiction as any, I think.