Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hanging Out With Mary Anne Benedetto

Vacation & Never Say Perfect:
Okay, I think that there are people who believe that my entire life is a permanent vacation. Granted, I live where I can be at the beach in ten minutes and play golf 12 months a year, but they don't see the extensive list of my writing projects that are in various stages of completion PLUS another list of project ideas that I haven't even started yet. I don't want to begin another project until some of my works-in-progress are finalized!
I did, however, enjoy a wonderful break in the action by once again participating in our annual Cape May Girls Getaway Week. Some of us have been trekking with beach chairs, sunscreen, bathing suits, and beach towels to Victorian Cape May, NJ for over 20 years. Candy, Mary Ann, and I are originals, with Lori & Dee Dee joining, and then Robin, Calf & Cheryl for the past few years. The beauty is that each individual can do whatever suits them at any given moment without the others being concerned that someone is being moody or not participating. Everyone does their own thing all day long. We all know exactly where to congregate at the beach, so it's very easy to locate our group.
Personally, I love taking long, long walks around Cape May, and I don't usually hit the beach until sometime in the afternoon. On this trip, I took some time to soak in the local color of research for Never Say Perfect, the novel on which I am currently working. Just as in Eyelash, Laina Strickland and her husband, Dan, own a bed & breakfast in charming Cape May. I gathered information on various b & b's, talked to some guests, and also interviewed a woman who had owned a b & b in this location for 30 years. I sat in one b & b and made observations about the decor, furnishings, and atmosphere.
To me, half of the fun of writing a novel is the aspect of research. When we write about a real locale, as opposed to a totally fictitious setting, we want to be as accurate as possible. For instance, in my manuscript draft, Laina has to make a stop at the post office. I knew from several years of walking by that building that there is a sizable parking lot directly behind it, and I had written that was Laina parking there. On closer inspection, I noticed a sign that clearly states that this lot is for employees and official post office vehicles; however, there are a limited number of parking spaces in front of the post office, designated as 15 minute parking. So I've made the adjustment in the scene to have Laina parking out front. You may think that these are immaterial details, but in my own mind, I feel far more comfortable providing accurate information. Anyone familiar with that particular area of Cape May might actually recognize an erroneous reference.
I've always been drawn to research and details and am geared that way, so this is not tedious to me, but very satisfying. One of my favorite college courses was LEGAL RESEARCH! Need I say more?
The editing process for Never Say Perfect continues, including reading a couple of chapters to my husband, Fred, a few times each week. He's great at telling me that a scene needs elaboration or clarification or if something simply doesn't sound logical. My first reaction to his suggestions is usually one that is defensive and I attempt to argue my point, justifying why I wrote it a particular way; however, I digest what he offers and often realize that he does have a valid point, though it is extremely painful to admit such a thing. I actually like the way he challenges me to more closely evaluate what I am writing, rather than just compiling a collection of words and situations, twists and turns.
Never Say Perfect contains a great deal of mystery, and I LOVE to generate surprises in my writing. A huge thank you to my husband of 30 years on 7/19/10 for assisting me with this project!

2011 Memoir Preservation Cruise:
Plans are formulating as we speak for the 2011 Memoir Preservation Cruise!!! Tentatively, we are zeroing in on a departure of 10/1/11 from Baltimore on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas for a 5 night cruise to Bermuda. There will be choices of memoir workshops, plus loads of free time. This will be great for people just beginning a memoir project, as well as those who have already started. Plus it will be so much fun to gather everyone together to network and talk about their own projects and experiences. Every time I hold a workshop, I dispense a great deal of information and invariably learn something new from my students! If we don't capture our stories, we take them to the grave........just food for thought. I'll keep posting as additional information is available regarding the cruise and pricing. Plan ahead--it will be a memorable experience.

In the midst of my crazy, busy existence I want to say that even when I am out of control, God is in control. He is my Source, my Protector, my Guide. Nothing happens in my time and through my wheel spinning efforts, but everything happens in His time and through His faithfulness to us. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 ....Yet another Divine promise.....

See you again soon!

1 comment:

  1. Your time in Cape May and your opportunity to pin down details of the post office and b & b sound heavenly! I'm that kind of person, too--I love to absorb details and atmosphere and search for words to describe them. Your cruise sounds like a rich opportunity, too.