Yesterday evening while I was walking, I began to think ahead to this year and to 2015. And these upcoming years made me realize that for 2012 and 2013 I left out two important things. One, my parents’ health is worsening, in particular my father’s, and I’ve begun to help them on a more regular basis. And two, my agent is sending out my novels, and I’m accumulating rejections. I’ve gotten very close a number of times, and I’ve gotten some very, very nice rejections. But no book deal.
2014: My agent sends me a note: “I’m so excited about your new novel, and I have a very good feeling that THIS ONE IS IT!” On the first trip of the year, Cal and I get snowed in in Provincetown. In February, one night I’m in Seattle at a VIDA party at Hugo House as part of AWP; the next, I’m in Columbus at a Mardi Gras debutant party where Jack is an escort to one of the Queen’s maids. Back in PT, a neighbor brings me a plate of sausages and peppers. In March we have our second Writing by Writers event–a 3-day workshop at the Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder–with Pam, BK Loren, and Ben Percy. It’s in March that for the first time I stay in the wharf house, where at high tide the water swooshes under the house, and I know I don’t want to stay anywhere else. From the outskirts of PT in The Days Cottages, I’ve slowly moved further and further in. But the wharf house is already booked for most of the year. While Dani Shapiro reads my manuscript, I take a break from the novel to revise an old story. I trade in my Lexus for a black Prius–the first car I’ve bought thinking only of myself since my twenties. Family trip to the beach for Memorial Day, and family can rain down upon me because I have my week a month to myself. “Hidden Tracks” is published in the summer edition of Contrary. Kathleen has another baby. Wynn is born in September–more little fingers and toes, more tiny murmurs, more magical nights. In the fall Sam heads to France for a semester–the Davidson program now takes place in Tours, where I lived for a year. In October it’s WxW at Tomales Bay again. At SFO, I pick up Andre Dubus and Kwame Dawes, who sings a stunning No Woman, No Cry… And Pam finally makes it to Columbus and meets Cal. In November he and I fly to France to see Sam. All of us visit the apartment building where I lived 34 years before, the school where I taught, the market where I shopped. Cal asks me not to go to Provincetown in December so I try that. It will be the only month I’m not there out of 51 and still counting. My agent sends my fourth novel to 10 editors, and it’s not a match, or it’s too slow, or it doesn’t pull together. 36 books for the year. Bon Iver’s Beth/Rest (the Rare Book Room version), Passenger’s Let Her Go, lots of Jasmine Thompson, and Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic… Last year I stayed in 5 different places in Provincetown–this year it’s 3–the penthouse, the wharf house, and the boathouse. 82 days.
She sees that she has before her an important task: to understand that all the things that happened in her life happened to her. That she is the same person who was born, was a child, a girl, a young woman, and now she is old. That there is some line running through her body like a wick.
Mary Gordon, The Rest of Life