(January 3, 2023)
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you are looking forward to 2023 as much as I am. In my October blog prior to the holidays, I told you that even though I didn’t yet have a specific commitment from the publisher, there was every reason to believe that my newest book would be published soon. I’m now delighted to report that my newest book, a grief memoir called That Day, And What Came After: Finding and Losing the Love of My Life in Six Short Years, has officially been scheduled by my publisher to start the work of editing and design in the second quarter of 2023, which means we’ll get underway in April or May. The last time my editing/design happened in the spring, the book came out in the fall, so I’m presuming this one will be on a similar schedule. So, in addition to the holidays, I was able to celebrate the formal acceptance of my third book with Sunbury Press.
This image was taken the day before the first performance of Weaving Penelope in Oregon and before the good news about the memoir, but it’s the best celebratory photo I’ve taken in ages!
As I mentioned last time, now I will start making some very specific choices for possible illustrations for the book. I know for sure that I will use these photos. The first is the last photo I ever took of Skip, just three days before his death. It was not a happy morning that day because some drunk students had walked by the previous night, presumably on their way home from the bar to their nearby campus (not the university where I was teaching), and one lunkhead thought it might be funny to toss our full recycling bin (on the curb awaiting early morning pickup) through the back window of our car parked in the driveway. Pointless and opportunistic vandalism, pure and simple.
The pictures of the car were originally for insurance purposes, but I’m glad I included him in the frame of one of the photos I took that morning.
Another photo I know I will include is of Skip during our last vacation, just two months before his death. He loved the area around York Harbor, Maine, a place he had gone often throughout his life and was happy to share with me for the first time. And he love, love, loved being on the water. During that vacation, we took three boat trips in just two days out of Perkins Cove: a lobster boat demo tour, a large racing sloop that took us out onto the ocean some distance from shore, and a small sailboat with only us, the captain, and a handful of other passengers, where we heard the latest story about George Bush, Senior, who had recently grounded his boat in front of his Kennebunkport home, which resulted in his secret service detail taking over piloting when the boats got close to land from that point on.
It’s easy to see that being on the water brought Skip great pleasure.
And I’m sure I will include photos of Skip and Maren, his first grandchild. The two of them had a very special sympatico from the moment they laid eyes on each other. Though she was only 3 ½ years old when her “Papa” died, and though they didn’t have a habit of phone conversations while he was living, she continued to talk with him on her plastic phone with a direct line to Heaven for many weeks after he disappeared from her day to day life.
Top photo is from our summer visit in June 2009.
The second is from March 2010 – I suspect she got that phone for Christmas the previous year.
And the second grandchild came just five months before Skip’s sudden death. He doted on that little boy and was looking forward to watching him grow up and teaching him how to play baseball and to be a Red Sox fan. I’m sure he would have been just as devoted to Trenton as he was to Maren, though he never got the chance.
Skip looks both delighted and exhausted. I’m sure he worried about his daughter’s second labor all night before we were able to head to the hospital bright and early in the morning to meet the new arrival.
As I wait for the official editing process to start, I’m still participating regularly in my wonderful women writers’ group, which means that I’m scheduled to present new work every few weeks for the next three months. So, I continue to work on more essays that might become part of a future Mosaic Memoir, even though I have no idea whether they will cohere as a book project or exist as separate essays in the long run. Right now, I’m writing about a series of psychic readings I had in the late 1980s when I was in my mid-to-late 30s and involved in the first serious relationship after my divorce from my first husband. It’s fascinating to me to reflect on those readings and the young woman I was 30 years ago, and I hope I can make it interesting to potential readers as well.
As if that wasn’t enough for me to do in early 2023, Richard and I continue to refine our script for Weaving Penelope in hopes of finding somewhere for a full production in the reasonable near future. We’re almost done!