Saturday, May 15, 2010

You Better Knot Die

I got my revision letter for You Better Knot Die a week before I went to Washington DC for the Malice Domestic conference. Even though these days manuscripts travel cross country by email complete with editorial notes, I like to work with a hard copy. So, when I headed back east, I had a the mass of pages in my carry on. I barely looked at it during the weekend conference, but when I stopped in Chicago on the way back, I got down to business.

Once again staying there was like my own writers retreat. For four days all I did was go over my manuscript, take a walk, mostly to the local grocery store to pick up my daily dose of salad bar or through the campus of the U of Chicago..

The walks were a nice change from being stuck in a chair. Spring had sprung with a generous spirit. The leaves were all completely open and so lush that I couldn’t see across the street from my 3rd floor window. The tulip petal were open so far it was like they were doing a back bend. The real treat was the lilacs. They don’t grow well in Southern California. Something about the ground not getting cold enough. It had been years since I’d seen them in bloom and I’d forgotten how beautiful the tiny bluish purple flowerlets clustered into a panicle were. The scent brought back memories. I used to buy bunches of them at the train station for my mother. In those days a bunch cost 50 cents and they’d wrap them in a cone of green paper. All the way home on the train I’d savor the sweet scent.

Each day on my grocery store foray, when I’d pass the lilac bush, I’d bury my nose in the flowers and drink up the scent.

There was another flower treat. I noticed the sweet smell as I walked out of the building. Behind the wrought iron fence just in front of the basement windows a flurry of lilies of the valley were blooming. Their leaves looked like they’d been quilted and the tiny bell shaped flowers were delicate and lovely. The plant is something else too. It’s the mystery writer in me that while I was enjoying their fragrance was also thinking they were deadly. Who would think anything so pretty could be poison?

This time on the plane ride home instead of crocheting, I spent the time going over my manuscript. I like to read it through and mark it up and stick in yellow legal sheets with notes before I put anything in the computer.

I’ve been home just over a week now. I’m putting the changes in the computer now. The revisions were nothing major, but it still takes time because when you change one thing, you have to make sure that it didn’t cause something not to make sense in the next chapter.

No time to crochet until I finish except for the toy elephant Molly is now making in the book. It’s the write about what you know thing. Or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. Right now it is just a body and head with a trunk, but I can tell it’s going to be very cute when it get’s its leg, tail and facial features. I’ll post a photo when I finish. But for now it’s back to revision land.


Camille Minichino said...

I envy your Chicago days! Art Institute, Museum of Sci & Industry, U of Chicago -- I may be the only person you know who'd rather smell the Hopper paintings than lilacs!

Betty Hechtman said...

Camille, you named all the places I love. BTW, I love the smell of oil paints and the Hopper paintings are great. The one of the dinner reminds me of a noir movie.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Please be sure to send us a photo of the elephant, Betty. He sounds so cute.

Betty Hechtman said...

Once the elephant has the rest of his body parts and a smile, I'll post a picture.