“The happiest writer is a writer not writing.”
- E.B gratis norsk. White
The fall colours have blazed their way onto the trees; branches are crackling with flame-coloured leaves against the most brilliant skies I can recall. The colours are about three weeks late by my estimation, but worth the wait. A new friend, visiting from balmy Australia, asks me, “Binnie, do you have a furnace?” I am charmed, and happy to report that yes, I have a furnace, but no, I haven’t needed to turn it on more than once or twice so far. It’s nowhere near cold enough, which is fine by me.
It’s been an interesting time, my being near the end of a few short stories in recent weeks/months. I’ve been doing more thinking than writing at this late stage of draft, at the expense of sleep and short-term memory (anyone seen not one, but two fine woolen pashmina shawls I bought in Tuscany some years ago? No idea where I’ve left them, or when…), but it’s a lovely, heightened sense of awareness I find myself in. My state of mind might also have to do with a reluctance to let the stories go, saying goodbye to the characters who’ve been with me for awhile.
And yet, with all the revising and concerts and nocturnal tossings and turnings and forgetting where I’ve left things, the decision comes unexpectedly, and with no fanfare. Suddenly it is time. I write a cover letter, paper-clip the manuscript together, and tuck the whole thing in a manila envelope. Off it goes into the wider world, the first submission of many.
For a few days I feel certain there’s something I should be doing. Walter and Tilly, the characters in my story, visit me in quiet moments, but the moments dwindle. There is a feeling of emptiness. I don’t dwell on it and it doesn’t last very long. Now I can gather my wits and think about the next story, which is already under way.
The day dawns cool and crisp; there is frost on the grass. Backstage, my Australian friend is pleased to show me her possum-fur mittens. I’m fascinated – possum fur! – and relieved to know that she’ll at least have warm hands this winter.