#287: Inundation

A flash flood warning sounded on my phone an hour ago, on my way back up to my parents’ house after a friend’s birthday party. When I got here the street was flooded – I’m talking water up-to-the-headlights, floating garbage cans, flooded. A proper inundation.

The water level’s up to the sidewalk right now, but has a good way to go before it reaches the garage (where all of Julia and my belongings are currently stored). The basement’s still dry and I hope it stays that way. I’m here standing (or sitting) watch, in the living room, until the rain lets up.

Speaking of inundations: I’ve been making steady progress on both the manuscript and the new house. For the latter, we’re done painting most of the ground floor, and I’ve figured out a good process for staining the trim upstairs. There’s still plenty of work after all that – small touch-ups here and there, plus refinishing the floors (which we will thankfully not be doing ourselves). All in all, I’d be pleasantly surprised if we were in before September.

In re: the book, I sent the first forty or so pages of the latest draft to my editor this afternoon. It’s not as much as I would’ve hoped by this point, but we both agreed that sharing sooner and more often was better than later and all at once. And I’m very close to (if not already in) that phase of the novel that Zadie Smith would call the magical-thinking middle (thanks Courtney):

The middle of a novel is a state of mind. Strange things happen in it. Time collapses. You sit down to write at 9 A.M., you blink, the evening news is on and four thousand words are written, more words than you wrote in three long months a year ago. Something has changed. And it’s not restricted to the house. If you go outside, everything – I mean, everything – flows freely into your novel. Someone on the bus says something – it’s straight out of your novel. You open the paper – every single story in the paper is directly relevant to your novel.

All I can do right now is keep up my routine, and keep making time and space for those strange things to happen. With that in mind, I’m going to take a brief hiatus from this newsletter. I will write to you again when there’s one fewer full-time project on my plat.