I’m about six weeks into “European Bistro” (a Dimensions chart), the current cross stitch project. I’m enjoying the complexity of it. This part (lower left corner of the finished piece) has a great deal of depth, achieved by light/shadows and the interesting combination of half-cross and full-cross stitches. The odd-looking grid is my keep-track grid, so I don’t lose my place in the complicated chart.
You’d think half-cross (/) would take half the time of a full-cross (X), wouldn’t you? Not so: it takes more time, because you have to be more careful with the thread tension and be sure that the stitches lay flat. Plus, there’s a lot of back-stitching–outlining. Not a project that can be hurried, believe me. Best done with an audio book: I’m listening, with the text, to Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent, the first of his legal thrillers. This is a reread of a book that (IMO) is much better on the second or third reading, when you can appreciate the author’s creative development of his obtuse unreliable narrator, whose legal smarts are entirely trustworthy but who is dumb as a brick when it comes to close personal relationships. Turow set a high bar for himself with his first book. I’ve just finished his latest (The Last Trial)–especially interesting, with its parallels to our current real-life situation.
Speaking of which. We’re still sheltering in place, as are so many of you. I’ve been staying put (the privilege of age), while Bill (six years younger than I) goes out once a week to fetch the mail and shop for groceries. Our closest grocery store (a 30-mile roundtrip) doesn’t do curbside pickup,so he does “real” shopping. Our local hardware store is considered “essential,” so he can shop there, too. I shop online for books (absolutely essential) and other necessities. Living in the country means that we’re not in the habit of going out for restaurant meals, so we don’t feel deprived of that pleasure. In fact, we don’t feel deprived at all. We have books, the internet, television, and lots of open landscape. We are increasingly grateful to those who are leaving their homes to work so that we can stay home. And I’m very grateful that we enjoy each other, still (after three decades of marriage) find new topics of conversation, and continue to learn new things about the lives we lived before we began living together. It’s all pretty amazing, actually.
To those who’ve been asking about the next China Bayles project. The writing has been interrupted by one of my volunteer projects for Story Circle, a network for women writers. But I’m back at work on the current Dahlias mystery (The Darling Dahlias and the Voodoo Lily) and hope to finish it by the end of July. Once that’s done, I’ll likely pick up the China mystery I dropped when I injured my back a year ago. I can’t remember where I left that project, so I can’t say right now when it’ll be finished and published. But it’s in the works. In the meantime, the latest Pecan Springs novella trilogy (Deadlines, Fault Lines, Firelines) will be available in ebook online (Kindle, Nook, Apple) in July and August (July 7, July 21, August 4). Print folks, yours will be published in an omnibus edition (all three titles together) on September 22. Sorry–no word yet on audio.
It’s Memorial Day weekend, which always means buckets of rain here in the Texas Hill Country. Wherever you are, I hope you’re sheltering, or (if you choose to go out) that you’re masked and careful. Please be safe.
Reading note. And that is just the point… how the world, moist and beautiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. “Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?”― Mary Oliver