Discover more from The Next Novel
I’m writing this from the family home of a close friend on a large pond in the middle of the woods in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Our group of friends has been coming here for one weekend every summer for close to a decade. We missed last year, of course, and I missed the year before that because I had just given birth. So to be back feels like a momentous return.
This is my happy place, not just because it’s beautiful and peaceful and I come here with people I love, but because the whole place is alive with history. My friend’s family has lived on this pond for generations. There are kitchen implements in the cupboards that have been in use for more than a century. Down the road is the summer camp that Sylvia Plath attended in the 1940s. This morning, my friend’s dad showed me the children’s rowboat he’s refurbishing, which was built in the Steinway piano factory in the 1920s and which he remembers using in the 1950s, his older brother at the helm and his twin sitting beside him. Every corner holds a story.
This is the place where I got the very first seed of an idea for the novel I’m working on now. There is a home on the pond, which used to be in my friend’s family but has since been sold. A few years ago, she gave us a tour. It’s one of those rambling summer homes, a little rustic but with enough bedrooms to cram in all the uncles and aunts and cousins. The house is called Windows, because it has a lot of windows.
“Can I use that name for a story?” I said to my friend, and she said yes because she loves to supply me with story ideas. [“More like foist them upon you,” she says as she reads this.] I tucked the name away, and finally, last year, began to write about a glass house called Windows.
I spent the last week reading over workshop notes on my manuscript excerpt and now I’m back in the swing of novel writing, though at a slower pace. 200 words a day, just touch the world.