Discover more from The Next Novel
End of summer in Illinois
At the end of every August, my kid and I spend a week, give or take, in Illinois.There is a gap between summer childcare options and the beginning of school, and summer in Illinois is one of my favorite things in the world, so it’s the perfect time to go home and see family and recharge my accent.
I try to take him to all the Rockford places I love. This trip, we did Burpee Museum, Discovery Center Museum, Klehm Arboretum, and Edwards Apple Orchard. We went to Rockford City Market with Nick. We had coffee with Rachel at Rockford Roasting Company. We saw cousins and grandparents and his one remaining great-grandparent. The Cubs won and lost.
You would think, being in Rockford, that I would take this opportunity to work on my novel project that’s set there, but (1) I didn’t have a ton of time to write this week and (2) I’m so deep in the pond novel at this point that I just need to finish the draft. I did drive by one house that has been a touchstone for me (archival photo here) and my child waited patiently in the car while I, like a total creeper, got out and took a photo of it (film yet to be developed). But other than that, I didn’t think of my Rockford novel. I will return at some point and I will be in the right headspace, but this was not the trip.
I began The Lost Daughter on the flight there. Kind of an intense read for a week of solo parenting, but I’m fully engrossed. This is my first Ferrante. I miss the boat on most books, and that’s okay. They find me when it’s time.
Tuesday I take the train to Boston for work. I hope to write there, early mornings in the hotel. Soon — in the next two weeks — I will settle into fall and set some goals and firm up deadlines and get organized. I have my eye on magazines and residencies and, of course, finishing manuscripts. But just now, just this moment, I’m not quite grounded enough for all that. Soon, soon.
Well, we’ve done it for the last three years, and now it feels like a tradition.