Starting today I’ll be enjoying a three-day writing/reading retreat. During the retreat I hope to edit a number of the chapters in my forthcoming book and enjoy reading a few favorite authors. Here’s what I’ll be working on over these days (from the bottom-up):
My manuscript. That stack of pages on the bottom is a version of my manuscript. I hope to edit the final nine chapters (6–15) this weekend. The manuscript is due in 50 days and at this stage, more than anything else, I am sharpening the prose style, smoothing out any lumpy-flow-issues, and taking time to address notes and questions from editors.
William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Lear in The RSC Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pgs 2004–2073. Last week I received this newly edited version of Shakespeare’s works (1623 First Folio ed.) and I’m impressed with the clear and abundant footnotes and the penetrating introductions. I find this edition is far more helpful than other collections I own (ie Riverside). I was delighted to read portions of The Tempest last week. This weekend I’ll skip over to KL.
The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition (University Of Chicago, 2010). I will flip through the new manual to learn things I should have learned in English class but didn’t because I wasn’t paying attention. At this stage in my book writing I’ll need to invest time formatting all the knotty ends that have been largely neglected (footnotes).
John Newton, The Works of the Rev. John Newton: Vol. 1 (London, 1820). Apart from the letters in the New Testament, no other personal letters more consistently edify my soul than those from Newton’s hand. This weekend I plan to read and study three of his letters more closely, each from the first volume in his six-volume works. I plan to share these letters on the blog early next week.
Frans Bengtsson, The Long Ships (NYRB Classics, 2010). A recent re-release of two Viking tales originally published in Sweedish in 1941 and 1945, translated into English in 1954, combined into one novel, and then fell out of print and was forgotten for a while. The book is now back in print. TLS is an absorbing read and provides a sobering look into the savagery of the 10th century Viking world. I’ve rowed for 75 pages. 400 to go.
Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition (Counterpoint, 2000). Just arrived. The book opens with a line from King Lear: “Thy life’s a miracle. Speak yet again.” Berry is profound, although the reader knows what to expect: “…under various suasions of profession and personality, this legitimate faith in scientific methodology seems to veer off into a kind of religious faith in the power of science to know all things and solve all problems, whereupon the scientists may become an evangelist and go forth to save the world” (p. 19). Berry always makes the true Savior more beautiful in my eyes, and he tightens my clinch on the grace of God that I need to survive this mystery called life, although I don’t recall him ever mentioning Christ in a meaningful way. Often the great authors are marked by their influence that can slowly and subtly and permanently change your outlook on the world (eg Marilynne Robinson).
So that’s a bit about my weekend which has now officially begun at 5:30 AM on Saturday morning.
But first, personal devo’s.