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Agatha Christie on her world tour in 1922.

Agatha Christie on her world tour in 1922.

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” — Sophia Loren

 

The Wonderful World of Books

I’m currently reading Diana Athill’s “Somewhere towards the End,” which was written when she was in her late 80s. She’s now 98 and still going. While I’m only in my 70s, I find that Diana’s reflections on life expressed in her book often mirror my own.

Agatha Christie with her surf board in Hawaii.

Agatha Christie with her surf board in Hawaii.

For example, both of us are big readers, and both started our reading adventures focused heavily on fiction. But we both find ourselves reading more and more non-fiction books with each passing year.

Writes Diana: “I am puzzled by something which I believe I share with a good many other oldies. I have gone off novels.” She then goes on to ponder, with no definitive answer, why this is?

Of course I had to ponder the same question. I think it’s because I no longer need to escape from life but am more fully willing to embrace it. But then it’s also because I love surprises, and real life seems to contain just as many, if not more, of them than the make-believe worlds.

For example, I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie’s, whose mysteries often hold many surprises. But the book about her that I’m now reading – The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery – has also held a few surprises.

The book, which mostly consists of letters to her mother, written while she was on a world tour with her husband in 1922, has also been full of surprises, completely changing my preconceived idea of who Christie was. I think I saw her as an extension of Jane Marple.

But Jane Marple never went surfing, and Agatha Christie loved to surf. I’m not sure why I thought this was so absurd, but the book contained illustrations to prove it.

I don’t know about anyone else, but learning to read is one of the greatest gifts life has bestowed on me. So what’s everyone else reading these days?

Bean Pat: The Iris and the Lily http://tinyurl.com/jy6sqkf This blogger is just beginning her retirement years and she’s off to a great start.

 

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 “Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.” – Agatha Christie

 

The view out my RV window at Wassamki Springs in Maine. I wanna go back. -- Photo by Pat Bean

NaNoWriMo Update … 40,035 words

First Maggie got the doggie runs. She needed to go out every hour on the hour for the entire night. The consequences of not crawling down from my bed over the cab of my small RV was enough to make sure I kept getting up hour after hour.

So I awoke with very little sleep, and so my writing suffered. My best writing occurs when I am in bed by 10 p.m. and get up and get in front of my computer by 5 or 6 a.m.

Second it was Thanksgiving, and there was family around that needed my attention, or I needed theirs, or whatever. And calls from family far away, and too much eating going on, followed by several games of Settlers, none of which I won.

And so my writing suffered.

Today, with the end of NaNo only five days away, it was back to the keyboard. My decision to demand everyone leave me alone, however, has probably earned me a few black marks in my ledger. It’s the big Christmas decorating-day here at my son’s house in Harker Heights.

My daughter-in-law looked shocked when I refused the call to arms.

The upside, however, is that today I got past the 40,000 word mark. if I write 2,000 words a day for the next five days, I will meet the 50,000-word goal.

What I have going for me is that I think I’ve figured things out in my head on how my story is going to end. And that in my 37 years as a journalist I never missed a deadline.

I’m also thinking that my conclusion might not take the book all the way to 50,000 words, but I’m hoping that’s the case. I have lots of extra scenes in mind to flesh out what is already written. The trick will be to add these scenes without deleting all the unnecessary and redundant words that go into all my first drafts.

It takes much longer to write short than it does long.

So now if you’ll excuse me, I still have writing I can do today. I don’t want to push that deadline beyond my capability.


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Somewhere over the rainbow is Mesa Falls in Idaho -- Photo by Pat Bean

My Favorite Places

 The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. – Agatha Christie

NaNoWriMo Update … 25,743 words

Two glorious days of writing going well, followed by two miserable days of brain farts. At least I got a little more written these last two miserable days, and thankfully I was ahead of schedule.

Next two days have chunks of missing writing time: Doctor’s appointment, final physical therapy appointment (The therapy for my neck went much better today than the writing.), and drive to my oldest son’s for his the official retirement ceremony from the military after 37 years.

I sure hope Christie was right about writing going on even when you’re not writing. But just in case she’s not, please send words my way.

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