“Phase 1” of writing – “Being All Knowing”

Notes from Alexis: She is enjoying ‘signing’ class, and feeling the ‘grind’ of ‘Phase I’ of writing a book.

10-5-84

Dearest Lex,

So glad to hear you are coming down. I intend to talk your ears off and send you home so exhausted that work will be a relief.

This is the day after the second ‘signing’ class and I feel like my brain has fused – been blasted into a molten mass. I tell you we move fast and it is so much fun and so exciting. I practice like mad in front of the mirror but everyone else said they didn’t practice, and I thought they were actually better. B. has hands so big that he is easy to read, but he is so serious. T. brought his braille book and sat quietly through the class (nothing like last time). R. didn’t show but M. came wearing tight, tight pants (Ah to be young!). A new lady, Mi. came, she was sick last week, she is probably older than me. She doesn’t look it but her hands give her away.

Everybody got a kick out of me taking the class because I got a book at half price and couldn’t pass up a bargain.

It is fun to watch Little J. I sign to him and his little fingers move, too. Signing must be a very old, very deep way of communicating. I suppose all the hand motions ‘talking with my hands’ that I have always done, was from this deep well. My hands have always known things I don’t know, and now maybe they will get a chance to talk too.

Weather has been lovely. The first day of October the trees started turning and the wild plum at the bottom of the place is beautiful.

I have come to the conclusion that the part I like least is ‘Phase I’ of writing. Say for a novel; I have to invent everything, be all knowing, all wise about all the facets of the book and it is just grind, grind, grind. Hardly anything creative. Like wedging clay for a potter, I suppose. Necessary, of course, even vital, but hard work and not creative.

I changed the male hero in Webs, or rather he changed himself, so I had to go back and ‘Phase I’ a lot of changes about him. I am trying to eliminate so many of the same plot devices so EAB and Webs are not alike. I have done it pretty well and it is coming around to being an exciting story I think, but talk about wedging, I mean we are talking tons of clay here.

I have become dissatisfied with the name Webs and am casting about for another name. My high production time of 80,000 words in two months is over, sadly enough. I may never reach such heights again. What a trip!

Well, I meant it when I said I was brain—fused. I can’t think of anything much. I may just sit around in a stupor until you come down.

Love,

Mom

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