Burn Rate

Now that Buck has returned to writing his novel in earnest, he is burning through legal pads at an astonishing rate. I convert his bold black strokes to type, with headers, footers, time stamps and recoverable, editable chapters.

Stacks bloom on a dining room table. I’ve developed an easy-to-see visual cue to tell at a glance which are Buck’s and which are mine. I discovered that with Word 2010 I can select all sorts of ways for page numbers to appear, and so for my own drafts, I am using a pale blue triangle with a reverse type white numeral inside it at the bottom right-hand corner of each page.

Who gets to live like this, I wonder? How did we get so lucky?

I am living in at least four worlds these days: one is Buck’s fictional midtown Manhattan in the late 1930s; another is the memory lane of a long-running love affair; another a fictional world where it seems there is always another shoe to drop, where a character’s own smart phone becomes a tool of her worst enemy; and not to forget the lovely “real world,” where Buck wanders into my study and says, “Let’s take a shower and go down to the water for lunch. We need some crab cakes.”

Like yesterday. We did that yesterday. We sat at a corner table in the bar. Rick the bartender doesn’t mind if you only drink iced tea there. He has the gift of making everyone feel like he has felt their absence keenly and is so glad to see them again. Besides, the bar has the best view of the bay if it’s too cool to sit outside. Buck and I sat, savored a cup of gumbo and crab cakes. The gumbo surprised with several tiny, succulent bay scallops hidden in the roux. After Rick serves lunch, he goes away. He knows that lovers like to be left alone. They have so much to say to each other; there will never be enough time to say it all.

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