Here we are, almost the middle of March–how does this happen? Is it a function of being immersed in something so deeply that time telescopes in the doing? Or of keeping busy with too many tasks? Or of too many events in our world, too readily reported to us, too many to keep straight? Or simply of growing older?
Markers of time for me: the seasonal flowerings. The frost flowers “bloomed” through our crippling January ice storm. The daffodils began blooming in early February and are with us until late March. The mountain laurel comes in mid-March and stays until early April. Then the bluebonnets and paintbrush and coreopsis.
And birds. Robins and juncos and towhees arrive in late December and are gone by the time the hummingbirds appear in mid-March. The wild tom turkeys begin their dancing displays in January and flaunt themselves through April, when the hens have started setting. (And then the toms display to other toms, just for the heck of it). And by May, the turkey hens, always so discreet and modest, begin bringing their poults and the does begin bringing their shy fawns for us to see. And then it is summer and everything quiets to a simmer.
Meanwhile, the current cross stitch work-in-progress grows. This is the adaptation of Wysockie’s “Quilts for Sale” that I started last July. (You can see what it will look like, finished, here.) It’s been a challenge, especially because the chart is too fussy (too many unnecessary color changes and some odd detailing). But I persist. And enjoy seeing the images emerge under the needle. Time. Everything good takes time, doesn’t it?
And work, for me, is also a marker of time. Someone Always Nearby–my Maria Chabot/Georgia O’Keeffe project–is finished and its webpage has been posted. Please take a look–I love the cover and am very pleased with the book itself, which will be out in early November. The story arc follows both women from 1940, when they met, through the end of their lives–years of enormous change for each of them. I’m just as delighted with an ancillary project: a Reader’s Guide, which documents the fiction with the fact base from which the story grows. Paula Yost, who helped with the archive research, is coauthoring it with me. There are discussion questions for book clubs, plot summaries and time lines and hyperlinks to online resources. We plan to publish it as a free download on the book’s website, so that readers who like to dig deeper can easily do that. That’s the current plan, anyway.
I’ve also been working on another China Bayles mystery: Forget Me Never. The signature herb is the forget-me-not, which is (unforgettably) the symbol of the Alzheimer’s Association. Lots to discover here! Hoping to get back to that project as soon as Paula and I have wrapped up the Guide.
And here’s a bit of especially good news: the first six books in China’s series will soon be appearing in audio! They were written between 1991 and 1997, long before the current audiobook revolution. I couldn’t be happier, especially because the first three books have been stuck in print, with no ebook edition (a quirk of the original long-ago publication). So happy to have them in audio! More Robin Paige books are on their way, too. I’ll let you know as they’re released.
That brings us up to date. Wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying the markers of the spring that is, inevitably, on its way in your neighborhood. Leave a note below and let me know what that’s like for you. I can’t always reply, but I always read and appreciate.
Reading note. To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.–Mary Oliver