Cold spell

Of course, a cold spell in Tucson is a different animal than a cold spell back home. Frost warnings last night. Some rain. Clouds. A chilly day, only in the 50s. This will continue for a few days.

I am always in touch with those back home. Lance is ensconced in the house preparing his museum show for the Rourke Gallery in Moorhead. Dad took Uncle Orv in for outpatient surgery this morning. Joe is working to get his step-daughter out of Thailand, which at present is in a state of political unrest, which is complicating matters.

Sister Tracie decided to cancel a haircut she had scheduled for Aunt Olla. Aunt Olla, meanwhile, is back in the saddle. "I couldn't have it any better," she insisted when I called her last.

Meanwhile, back here in Tucson, I have moved on to editing the material I wrote in a rush last month. I went at a fast pace, so the quality needs improvement. You'd think after years of writing that I would get better at first drafts. Perhaps I have, but I also have developed a more critical eye towards editing, which means there is always plenty of work to do to improve the text.

You can't start worrying if people are going to read the stuff, although it is tempting to doubt. So, I had a couple of days of doubt. Then the futility of a bad outlook became obvious and I waded back in to what I had written, only to find it wasn't that awful. 

Mind games. They're the same now as they were in college when it was impossible to finish papers before the deadline. However, now, there is no due date, nobody will issue a grade, and you have nobody to please but yourself. 

I am comforted by reading about the tremendous work established writers put into their writing. Revision after revision. I just read a book about how F. Scott Fitzgerald editied The Great Gatsby into its final form. His earlier versions survive, so the author of the more recent book plowed through them to see what changes Fitzgerald put in, often at the urging of a friendly editor. The changes were large. Fitzgerald sorted through his entire text and changed the way he presented characters, changed the way they spoke, changed their level of prominence. The edits included debates over single words, too. Without the editing, the book would probably have fallen on its face. 

An old rule reasserts itself: That which is easy to read has been difficult to write.