Maria and I drove to New Lebanon, N.Y. to meet and talk with Rosemary Ahern, our very beloved friend and my very beloved freelance editor. I can't say how lucky I am to be working with her, or how grateful. For all of the change, I got to keep the very best of the editing ethos that is so valuable to a writer.
We talked about my ongoing book, "Lessons From Bedlam Farm," and my first three chapters, which she likes a lot.
I'm starting on Chapter Four. This is a great start, Rosemary is, like all good editors, long on suggestions, short on gushing. If she says it is great, it is. And I want to keep it going, this is a special book for me.
At the end of our breakfast and talk, Rosemary and Maria seemed to have the same idea at almost the same time.
Maria was telling Rosemary about her trip to India, she will be gone for more than two weeks.
Rosemary suggested that I hire someone to come in every morning, bring in the firewood, feed the animals. At first I said no, even though I could see Maria's see Maria's time away as a rare opportunity – and a creative one – to focus completely on my new book and my blog and photography.
Rosemary knows me very well, we are good friends and have worked closely together as good editors do with their writers. She knows how I work and how I think. And I often think she knows better than I do what I need as a writer.
Maria knows the same thing, they were both on the same page about it and were adamant.
A creative opportunity, said Rosemary. I resisted this idea. I can take care of myself and the farm, I was slow to see – Maria chimed in that she thought it was a great idea – that it wasn't about how strong or competent I am, it is about how creative and productive I can be while Maria is away.
With some help, I can be at my desk early and have some sweet and very compelling pure creative and writing time. I can hopefully do some great work on a book I am really loving to write.
This is very precious to me, it is an exciting thing. I live in a world of distractions, messages, e-mail, animal and house care, shopping and cooking. I could take Maria's absence – that will be hard for me – and turn it into something very productive. Maria was so excited about the idea, she was urging me to do it all the way home. On the way, I came around, perhaps realizing resistance would be futile.
You don't cross your editor and lover at the same time.
I will do the afternoon chores, shopping, walking with the dogs. But mostly, I will be working hard on "Lessons Of Bedlam Farm," an E.B. White (hopefully) kind of book about animal, lessons and the farm and on the blog and my photography.
I argued at first that this seemed extreme to me, but these two very strong and articulate women told me I was wrong to resist, I should sense this as the opportunity it is, not be distracted by some macho idea of handling everything by myself. My ego was resisting. Of course I can run things by myself. Of course I don't need help. Men are often woeful about help, they hate to ask for it or take it.
But there is no way I am rejecting the strongly held ideas of these two, they were both strong and clear about it, and I folded rather quickly. I think the moment I heard about it, I wanted to go for it. It just took me awhile to admit it.
I'll do it. This also makes the trip something very special for me, as Rosemary pointed out, this is my own special time and experience. It changes the whole idea for me, I know Maria will have an incredible time in Kolkata, I will have a writer's dream right here. The more snow, the better. There will be no pining or aimless drifting. I am so excited about this book project, it has just taken another great step forward.