Carolina on My Mind

It wasn’t all writing last week–on Sunday I joined a gorgeously attired group of fans for a Book-Lovers Tea put on at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library. A good time was had by all!

A whole week (nearly) of writing–and as Martha Stewart would say, “it’s a very good thing.”
Last Monday I joined members of my writing group, The Scribblers, for a week-long writing retreat at a borrowed house at Holden Beach, N.C. We missed fellow scribblers Katy Munger and Alex Sokoloff, but the other five, myself, Margaret Maron, Bren Witchger, Sarah Shaber and Diane Chamberlain persevered. The weather was chilly (to me) but sunny. I set up my laptop on a card table facing the ocean and got to work. I didn’t quite make my 60 page goal, but I got close, and the result is that I’m almost at the halfway point of THE FIXER UPPER. We followed our usual schedule–meeting for breakfast and talking about writing goals for the day, then splitting up to wrassle with words. We met again for lunch, then back to work until dinnertime. Everybody pitched in with food–homemade soup, spaghetti, chicken casserole, ect.
After dinner we brain-stormed. Sarah was working on revisions for her manuscript, Diane was starting plotting work for a new book, Bren was working out a knotty plotting problem, and Margaret was plotting murder–literary-wise, I mean. After the day’s work was done, the fun began. What do writers do for fun? They play word games. Margaret loves Balderdash, I happen to like Scattergories. Friday night was movie night. I’d never seen WONDERBOYS, with Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr and Tobey Maguire. Loved, loved, loved it. If you haven’t seen this movie about a college English professor (Douglas) wrestling with a departing wife, a pregnant girlfriend, a never-ending 2,000-plus page manuscript, a stoner editor, a gifted but troubled student and a dead dog,you simply must rent it. We howled with delight, and I’m still thinking about the funnier lines in this black comedy. On Sunday, I packed up and headed over to Charlotte, for the book-lovers tea which was held at the Levine Museum of the New South. We had more than 100 book-lovers, and lots of fun. That night I had dinner with old friends Mary and Dallas, and then Monday I headed for home. Of course, I had to stop at the Gaffney Outlet Mall in South Carolina. The Pottery Barn outlet was screaming my name. I scored a new white on white quilt for my bed and some other goodies. And then yesterday, I triumphed–actually got our income taxes filed–without an extension–for the first time in more than 20 years. More than 50 pages, income taxes filed, I’m feeling pretty damned smug today.