thoughts on leaving Beach Haven, and on the making of a book

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The ocean is behind me as I type; the day has come in.  I have been up since an early hour, at work again on Berlin.  I arrived here anxious, late Tuesday night:  Could I find my way to the end of this complex novel?  Could I honor Tamra Tuller, who invited me to write this book for her—her faith a gift like none other?  Many themes would have to find their way home.  Two storytelling voices would have to hold their own.  Tensions couldn't lag.  Research (oh, so much uncountable research) could never be confused with plot.  And don't forget love, which lies at this story's heart.  Don't forget what it is to love, and to wait.  Don't crowd that small big thing out with all that is Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, Little Istanbul and Stasi paranoia, bratwurst vendors and David Bowie.

Writing here has meant rewriting here, taking things apart.  It has required long walks and a settling in above the old laptop at 3 AM or 4 each day; I was here, after all, to write.  I had better make use of the days.  Clients await me.  The final projects of my beloved Penn students.  Reviews.  A contest or two to judge.  A son's graduation.  Interviews.  Small Damages.  If I couldn't do it here, I wouldn't do it at all.  I felt the pressure immensely.

This morning, at this hour, the book isn't done.  It is, however, intimately understood and my anxiety is gone.  There will be a storm here later today; in the gray dawn outside the waves are churning.  I will always be grateful to Beach Haven for letting me breathe, for restoring my own faith in me.  And I will always be grateful to my husband, too, who gave me room to work, who heard me, weeks and weeks ago, when I said, "I'd give anything for just a few, spare writing days."


Becca said...

I can imagine how much you must crave this, a little time carved out just for one purpose.

I’m so happy you had it, and were able to make such good use of it.

Amy said...

Yay Beth! Knowing where you're going with the book has to be the most important thing. :)

Mandy King said...

That's wonderful that you were able to take some time to write, and in such a beautiful place too. That husband of yours is a keeper, as my mema would say. :)

Serena said...

This is a wonderful picture...and I love how dedicated you are, even though you are not sleeping.

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