It shouldn’t surprise me how deeply day to day life can interfere with the creative process. For months I’ve been stuck on the next book, a fictional portrayal of a rather bent near term world while my days have been full with work on my Alliance for Girls and Beth Sholom projects, with travel, exercise, and most recently a couple months of back trouble that sapped much energy from everything else. I need distance to do the real work of creating. Editing, revising, backfilling–that can be done during regular life

I’m away now, on a three week retreat in Whistler, B.C. I’ve been looking forward to this since August. Write and ski, cook and sleep, read a book or three. Its working! Here’s the evidence.

So here is the new book getting laid out, story-wise.

I did this same thing with Jenny. This wall is a color-coded transcription, to a timeline, of notes formerly scrawled haphazardly on five poster-sized sheets of Post-It paper, embellished by the steady massage of my imagination. There is an iterative process between what I write and how that ends up in the structure of the book. It seems cuckoo, sometimes to do it this way, but I’m comforted by the words or Elizabeth Bowen, who says, “Plot is what’s left when all the extraneous bits have been chipped away. ” On this project, I’m still early in the process of creating all the extraneous bits.