We All Have Different Ways

The dog is a master trash picker. But whatever he picks out of the trash, he just carries into the living room, like “Hey, guys, this is weird. Someone put this plastic wrap which still smells awesomely of meat in that plastic container in the corner of the kitchen, where you could barely smell it at all. So, here it is!” And then he sets it on the floor, like he’s arranging his space based on an aesthetics of smell. This is fine, except that he keeps digging my underwear out of the hamper and putting it around the house where he thinks it’s more aesthetically pleasing, which I find somewhat annoying. But it’s also why I just can’t think of my pets like my children. I mean, for one, if my kids wanted to put their noses in the crotch of my dirty underwear, I’d be disturbed. For another, I let new kitty pout outside two nights when it was below freezing.

He’s figured out that, if he pees when he’s outside, he gets a treat, so last night, he faked me out! He just lifted his leg and then set it back down.

He’s so different from Sadie. It’s hard to even explain. It’s just a completely different experience. I hope he’s enjoying his new life.

I have my three encyclopedia entries written. I’m going to let them sit until next weekend and then give them a fresh eye then. But, in general, they’re done. I got rejected from the last place I had anything submitted to, so that really does give me a clean slate for the new year. Nothing is out on submission. I can decide what I want to do with what next year.

I’d like to get a few hours of alone time to work on the Ben & Sue fix. I will just say this, this has been the book of obvious-to-others problems, from S. telling me I had the wrong narrator to nm being able to easily tell me what was missing, even though I hadn’t seen it. Once she said it, it was obvious.

The general problem is kind of two-fold. One is that we don’t see the extent of Moll’s inability to get her hands on meth in the past. She’s hit a kind of rock-bottom earlier, but not in a way that really makes her adjust her life. She needs to have room to adjust her life. The other is that we don’t see what’s at stake for Nashville if they buy into Moll’s dad’s plan. What would it mean, right at the dawn of the gilded age, for Nashville to give up the 20 years of progress it’s had and turn back to Lee’s fantasy? And then there’s a kind of minor issue of why/how Moll does what she does at the end for Ben and fixing the problem of Moll’s meth addiction gives me a chance to address that.

I think I can do that all in a chapter I’m informally calling “All the Places Moll Threw Up.”

Anyway, I’m feeling really good about that and I hope I can get a working draft by the end of the month.

And then what? I don’t know. I’ll try to find an agent. We’ll see what happens.

Threads from the Web of the Past

Jay Smooth’s family was enslaved by the Randolphs of Virginia. Those Randolphs were intermarried with the Macons of North Carolina–hence Randoph-Macon College (or is it a university now?). Those Macons of North Carolina sent a branch to Tennessee and, with them, was Dr. Jack.