I admit it. I fell under Tawni O’Dell’s spell and took advantage of her permission to be a real writer without writing every day. Actually I don’t need Tawni’s permission to not write every day. I already knew that. Besides, life sometimes intervenes and other business must be attended to. Now my fingers are flying again.

During my break I found a jumping off spot. What better place than a cemetery, finding the grave of the baby brother I never knew and cracking the veil of the past? That occurred at the beginning of the drive from Santa Fe to Los Alamos, the drive that really did trigger a gush of cogent, potent memory. In so many ways, it was a day lived in parallel universes, oscillating between times and realities.

I’ve done two things to move the project forward. I set up a Live Sync folder so I can work on this project on either of my computers and have my files automatically and instantly update on the other. This has the splendid advantage of providing perfect backup. Having done that, I set about dissecting the preliminary file I wrote a few months ago so I can recast the relevant parts and add to them. I have a strong start now.

I’ve been reading too, and came to a stunning conclusion after reading Sam Patron’s “Search for Soul” blog, and Susan Wittig Albert’s latest volume, Holly Blues. Sam has a couple of posts about an adventurous part of her life. She covered a lot of ground in relatively few words. The story is lean and mean, written close to the bone. It’s pure narrative, with little in the way of description and no dialogue that I recall, but my eyes were glued to the page as I scrolled through the account, reading as fast as I could. Thinking back, I decided that I might have found additional description and scene elements distracting. I was making my own movie on the fly.

That hunch was validated when I read Holly Blues. Susan Albert is a master of scene building and her descriptions are especially succulent. I could take a week to savor the book, but instead, I read it in about four hours after dinner. I chided myself when I realized I was skimming through whole pages of exquisite description to get on with the action. Guilt? Not me. I savored enough of those scenes to know that Susan has not lost her edge and would have missed them if they weren’t there. Making the choice to skim read to fast forward through the action is far preferable to skimming out of boredom while deciding whether to set the book aside.

What’s a writer to do? I love this sort of soul-gripping story that totally sucks me in, and I’m also easily seduced by silken word ribbons. Can we have it both ways? Guess I’ll have to stick with the silken ribbons, because I do not have the gripping adventure.

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