—From CB—

We’ve returned from four days at a music festival a couple of hours north of here, about our fourth time and for once not blindingly hot. Very mellow days, in fact, very laid-back schedule, good sleep except for the final night when our neighbors were jamming till 2:30 a.m., and a sweet laid-back vibe overall. It’s conceivable we could have tuned into email and the news, but we didn’t. The walks to the music stages were long enough to tune us in, and our tent & tequila were welcoming.

I did carry one obsession with me, as I must: the final chapters of the sixth draft of our new novel AKEDAH. Oddly, in the days when the writing was essential to our livelihood, I was probably less obsessed than now, when there’s little problem paying the bills and consequently the obsession has.a purity that risks overdose. My iPad is easily charged from the Prius’ battery and accompanies me over the musical acreage, allowing me at times to be distracted by a mad Scottish quartet or a girl (now grandmother) band from the Sixties or a headliner I never heard of or a very sweet slide guitar. I managed three chapters of the revision, and we finished the tequila.

Today we returned, unpacked, washed all the tuppers that had held Elizabeth’s exquisite camp meals, and caught up on the news—pretty much as bad as I’d expected, though not entirely. Though our house-sitter kept things in order, our cats swarmed us as expected, and I picked a basket of plums from our teeming tree.

The mind compartmentalizes, I suppose as a survival tactic. I can read the news or a friend’s pain on Facebook, and then I can pet the cats. All are felt, but none hold me fast in their claw. In a way it’s like my wandering from stage to stage at the festival and then to my writing and then to supper and then to the snuggle in the tent—these things all exist side by side.

It’s especially odd with the novel. It comes out of an unproduced play from a number of years ago, an update of the Abraham/Isaac story, implacably grim. It’ll be the next thing we publish, though it’s very hard to imagine who’ll want to read it: the more humane it becomes, the grimmer. In fact the only way I can justify publishing it is to take the money we’d budget for promotion and apply it to giving books away gratis. That’ll happen some time after the first of the year. Right now I’m just trying to get it out of my head.

Yet it doesn’t dull the magic of the plums or the cats or the music or my mate. It’s just part of the stir and the stew.

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