Progress on the house has been slow again this week. The carpenter was preparing for the window install, which I’m told is happening any day now. When I stopped by the house on Saturday there were long thin boards painted white, set out on sawhorses to dry. These are going to be the jambs, I think. I’m hoping for a swift install; we had our first 40-degree night this week and I can already feel winter around the corner.
Saturday there was an alley cleanup in the neighborhood. The city provided our block club with a dumpster and tools for clearing out the trash and “alley trees” – thick, hearty, overgrown weeds, some as tall as ten feet, and smelling of peanut butter and old coffee – in the alleys between the blocks.
Late in the morning some grade-schoolers in the neighborhood got wind our project and came to help. First it was a three cousins from a block over, who then spread the word, and by the time I left mid-afternoon our group of little helpers had tripled. In addition to loading wheelbarrows with yard waste and dragging large branches to the dumpster, we spent a good amount of time trying to negotiate the kids away from the hedge sheers and saws. While I was connecting a small, powered-off electric chainsaw:
Me: Stand back. Kid: Can I try the chainsaw? Me: I can’t let you touch that. Kid: Why not? Me: You might cut yourself. Kid: No I won’t. Me: What would your mom do if you cut yourself with that? Or your cousin? Kid: She’d cuss me out. Me: See, if I let you use those and you get hurt, your mom’s going to cuss me out. I don’t want that to happen. Kid (sheepish): That’s not gonna happen …
We’d planned to cover the alley behind the new house today, but the weather this morning didn’t agree with our plans. Maybe next time.
Writing-wise, I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped while J and I were in Austin. One of these days I’m going to learn how to write while on the road. Still, I more or less wrapped up Storyline A in the new draft, and have started on Storyline B. Because the story jumps back and forth between the two, my plan going forward is to re-read and quickly revise the A scenes as I write the corresponding B scenes. I’m not entirely sure if this is going to work! But we shall see.
I mentioned in earlier letters my goal of 1,500 words/day for the month, for a total September count of 45,000 words. I did a quick review today and my actual output was closer to half of that. I’m setting a more modest goal of a 1,000 words/day for October. That would get me close to a complete draft.
But again: we’ll see. I’m taking things day by day.