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Writing Summer, 2012

July 28th: Of all the vistas before me this past month—lush and exotic and teeming—this was the most beautiful: my writing space at 3:30 this morning. 8 hours and 45 minutes later, 1037 words.

July 26th: On flight between Istanbul & home, the vitreous in my right eye detached. Common for 67. Doc fixed small retina tear. Effects pass. But deadline for my novel looms & I need 2 months like last summer: 1000-word days. And for those 2 months I will see darkly through a firmament of 10,000 black spots & vast floating tendrils. Still: halfway there since 3:30AM. You just write through it every day.

July 24th: At 2:30 I woke to the Ramadan drummers calling the faithful to their final sustenance before the day’s fast, and I went up on the roof of the hotel, and beneath a scimitar of a moon I dreamstormed a long-sought breakthrough: the plot of the Istanbul-sequence at the end of my novel. The city’s parting gift to me.

July 18th: Another splendid balcony. Another splendid place to write my daily words. And finally in the very city that will comprise the last 40,000 words or so of the new novel. Istanbul.

July 16th: I deferred the writing so we could visit the ancient agora in the relative cool of the morning. I’m glad I did. Yesterday’s words came down thru Athena. Today’s strolled from the shadows of the peristyle of the Temple of Hephaestus, where Aristotle once walked in conversation with Plato. I may be wrong, but these latest 712 seem to have a certain something. (This & yesterday’s photo by Kelly)

July 15th: We’ve left Andros and are spending a couple of days in Athens. This is the view last night from our balcony at the St. George Lycabettus Hotel. With the Acropolis before me, I wrote 790 words today, and as we head out to dinner I bow respectfully toward the home of Athena, to whom many of the Ancients here looked for creative inspiration.

July 12th: After a 506-word morning, this is the view from our breakfast table on Andros. The ever-delightful Amalia Melis and her Aegean Arts Circle provide a splendid way to spend a week talking about the creative process and living it.

July 11th: In addition to nurturing the words of Christopher Cobb Thriller No. 2 each day, I nurture this family of feral cats. The mother is the black and white, and each night, after the late Greek dinner, I sit beside her in the dark beneath the oleander, and she calls her babies with a mournfully vowel-rich cry and we wait for them to climb down the tree.

July 5th: In my first hour on Andros, sitting on our balcony, as the day’s light waned, I finished my 500 words. (On my laptop, but my notebook and pen look so much more writerly romantic.)

June 19th: My friends, Kelly Lee Daniels and I have eloped. Not far. And on the 3rd of July we will fly to the island of Andros and then, later, to the city of Istanbul. For good reasons of her own she has decided to become Kelly Lee Butler. By whatever name, I love her deeply and I am very happy. She assures me that she feels the same way.

May 29th: An inspiration on my daily commute from house to writing cottage: our killer hydrangeas. They have come to remind me more & more of a novel: the long, unified flow of them; the seeming jumble of dramatic parts, each beautiful & well-wrought & discrete, but all blending into a coherent whole.

May 24th: Today I excised two Lusitania scenes, both great in vacuo, but for an organically whole novel, they were two cases of the research wagging the tale.

May 15th: My writing cottage, outside and in. These were taken yesterday, during plot-dreaming, which accounts for the 3X5 cards at the center of my work table. The cottage is a hundred foot commute from my house.

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