I wrote eight drafts of a letter yesterday. Eventually, totally annoyed at myself, I went back to the very first version I’d written and decided it was the best. I would really like that not to be a metaphor for Grace, but it probably is.

That said, I love where Grace is going right now. Noah is getting a little snarky and a lot more decisive. I’m really seeing where and how I let reading about writing ruin my voice. All that stuff about showing, not telling… it just did not serve me well. Showing is good, yeah, but turning “Noah was annoyed” (telling) into “Noah clenched his fists” (showing) was terrible for my personal style. Maybe I can do better than “Noah was annoyed” — and really, I probably can, I’m already thinking of better options than that — but I’m much better off with the simple telling than the forced showing.

So, yes, Grace — I love how it’s going, but damn, it’s going slow. I’m still on Chapter 7 and when I think about how far I have to go, how much I have to write, how many decisions I need to make, before it’s finished, I’m inclined to go back to bed instead of writing. So I’m trying not to think about that and just enjoy the words I’m in. A little progress that I feel cheerful about is better than thousands of words that I loathe and in the end, it all comes down to one word at a time.

In general, I’m feeling excessively cheerful. I think I’m probably annoyingly cheerful, so I try to restrain my exuberance except when I’m alone with the dogs, but back in March, when I made the decision to let go of the house, I was the happiest I’d ever been in my entire life. I’m even happier now. Of course, because I’m bi-polar*, I have to be a little paranoid about whether spiraling up too high is just a symptom — am I delusional yet? — but I’m pretty sure I’m just really enjoying my life. And knowing that the crash is probably inevitable makes me appreciate the moment even more.

So this moment is in Pennsylvania. I’m back in my brother’s street, headed to visit an aunt and uncle tomorrow. Over the weekend, I visited another aunt and uncle and got to see/meet a cousin who I haven’t seen since she was a kid. She turned out to be another Jack Russell terrier owner, so we had great bonding over dogs. And I fell in love with their neighborhood. Sometime after I finish the next three or four books that I have planned, I am totally writing about a magical MA town. Not pseudo-scientific magic, like Tassamara, but flat-out spells and enchantments. My uncle looked at the floor of Serenity, at the top of a tiny storage compartment where I mostly keep things that can get dirty, i.e. cleaning supplies, plastic bags, etc. and said, “Where does this lead? The wine cellar?” and the inspirations just burst into life. I want to write about a town with an uneasy mix of styles (Maynard) and outdoor stairways (Rockport) that lead to unexpected places. It’ll be so fun! But not until I’ve finished so many other things. So much to write, so slow to write it!

Speaking of which, I’m going to get to it. I’ve got a day of minor errands ahead of me — air in the tires, getting a prescription filled — and then for the next several days, I’m going to be visiting family, then driving, driving, and more driving. By this time next week, I’ll be in Florida, I think. None of that is conducive to good writing, so I’d like to at least finish up Chapter 7 today and get into Chapter 8.

And I am not, NOT, going to pull the letter I wrote yesterday out of the mailbox and give it another few tries. It is what it is and it says what it says and whatever tomorrow brings, today is a beautiful day. Literally as well as figuratively!

*It’s polite, when referring to a person with a condition, to refer to them as having the condition, not being the condition: i.e., “I have bi-polar disorder” not “I’m bi-polar.” I would do that if I was referring to someone else. But for me, it’s easier to accept my diagnosis when I treat it as part of my identity, not some illness that I suffer from. YMMV.