Happy New Year, All!
Yesterday was tumultuous for me. I have agreed to give papers relating to my novels to Oberlin College in Ohio, where I got my BA (and where The Last Runaway is set). The Library Archives will sort them a couple at a time, and I boxed up Remarkable Creatures and Girl with a Pearl Earring and sent them off yesterday with FedEx. As I write the papers are in the sky somewhere over the Atlantic.
It was odd to compare the notebooks. For Pearl Earring in 1998 I took notes in a small orange notebook which I only half filled. It's surprising how early on (p.4 of notes) I knew exactly what the story would be, and researched just what I needed - no more, no less. There's not a lot to look at. (Plus I threw away all my drafts!) However, what is there is condensed, precise - rather like a Vermeer painting. Compare that to Remarkable Creatures written 2008-09, where I have two full notebooks and loads of drafts and papers. That didn't make the book or the process of writing any better, though. Now I long for those charmed Pearl Earring days when everything was pared down and I knew what I was doing.
It was very painful giving up the orange notebook to the FedEx man. Now when I want to hold it I'll have to go to Oberlin and put in a request, just like everyone else. It's great for you, but I have lost a part of me. To celebrate/commemorate that notebook, here are few photos.
I pasted a copy of the painting on the inside cover of the notebook so that
1) it wouldn't get marked; 2) no one would know what I was writing about!
I knew early on that I would imitate Vermeer's painting style in words.
Here is the vegetable wheel from the first scene, mapped out.