Tuesday, February 16, 2016

'16, So Far

I’m one of those people who makes New Year’s resolutions. My old standard, eating healthy and losing weight, usually falls off before the end of the first week. I’m consistent, if nothing else.

This year I switched things up a bit. I definitely wanted to promise myself I’d write every day, and I have. Good for me, and good for the progress of the book. I found that the more time I spend with my characters the better I get to know them. That and the fact of daily work helps move the story forward. You can’t go back if you’re constantly striving forward.

I also resolved to read at least six Pulitzer Prize-winning novels in 2016. I really have no idea where this one came from, except that I wanted to shake up my TBR pile. While searching online for a book on the history of the Prize I came across Josephine Johnson’s Now In November (1935) and decided on a whim to make it my first selection.

Sometimes I read a prize winning book and wonder why it won an award but Now In November completely knocked me out. The story of a Depression-era farm family, it’s the story of love, loss and the destruction of a family and in a sense, a way of life. The prose is exquisite, moving and lyrical. The characterizations were amazing. Here is the book's opening paragraph:

     Now in November I can see our years as a whole. This autumn is both an end and a beginning to our lives, and those days which seemed confused with the blur of all things too near and too familiar are clear and strange now. It has been a long year, longer and more full of meaning than all those ten years that went before it. There were nights when I felt that we were moving toward some awful and hopeless hour, but when that hour came it was broken up and confused because we were too near, and I did not even quite realize that it had come.

I have only ever heard about the Depression from the point of view of city dwellers and to be so immersed in the life of a farm community was illuminating—-and heart-breaking. As they say in the reviews, “highly recommended.”

Up next: Willa Cather’s One of Us.

Keep writing,


PS  The Great Backyard Bird Count was last weekend. Birds are pretty scarce around here nowadays. Early in the afternoon I heard two calls I could not identify, but at about 4:00 p.m. my little flock of Titmice came back. I counted six but there might have been more. They flit and fly around so quickly it’s hard to keep track. The Florida hummingbird count is always the same weekend of the GBBC, but hummers were zero in my yard this year. If the weather stays warm I can imagine having feeders out in the next few weeks.

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