Today at lunch I finished drafting the penultimate big section of the novel-in-progress I'm calling Nowhere But North. The draft is now about 82,000 words long, and I figure I've got about 15,000 more words to add to that number. I don't know what those words will be yet, but I have a couple of pages of notes to help me along. The book seems okay so far, and I think it will be the best thing I've written, which is what I always think of my latest novel. I might have the first draft completed by Christmas, which would be nice. The section I just wrote and the section to come are both quite tense, and I wouldn't mind relaxing. Nor would I mind having the time to concentrate on reading and not writing for a while.
Although not writing is not really on the agenda, because when the draft of Nowhere is completed, I will set it aside and set to work revising the thing I wrote last year or whenever it was, a novel-in-stories called Antosha!, preparatory to sending that off to agents and publishers nationwide for their rejecting pleasures. I will repeat the process in 2018 with the by-then-revised-and-rewritten Nowhere But North and then, by God, I will have done with being a novelist. I'm getting long in the tooth for this game, you boys. Conventional wisdom advises a writer against making such announcements publicly, but what do I care about conventional wisdom?
Anyway, I have been away for a week in beautiful Banff Alberta, at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival with Mighty Reader. I climbed Mount Tunnel, or Tunnel Mountain, whichever you prefer. As did thousands of other tourists, walking up the switchback path, some of them with little kids, others with tiny yappy dogs on leashes. It's not a technical climb, as the professionals say. I'd thought that I'd finish this latest section of Nowhere in Banff, and even kidded myself that I'd have time to write the whole remaining expanse of novel, but it turned out that I was easily distracted by festival events, the World Series (go Cubs!), the Bow River and all manner of very nice weather that called me away from my pen and paper and out into the world. It was my first visit to Banff. I wouldn't mind going back. Mighty Reader and I are quite fond of Canada, so it's nice we live so close. Though of course it's good to be back home. The cat claims to have missed us, which is heartwarming.
View of Bow River valley from Tunnel Mountain. Photo by Mighty Reader