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Sandy foundations

January 11, 2011

What does one do when one is revising one’s manuscript and comes across the following:

In later years, Mary would make breastfeeding a cornerstone of her philosophy, writing many expansive pages on the blessings that would result: “what kind of affection blah blah can a mother have for an infant if she does not breast feed blah blab FIND QUOTE”

I wrote this two years ago. I have no idea where the breastfeeding quote is. I have left myself many notes like this. The Creator was a far better parent than either of her own. *(See early chapter in Mary)

I debate with myself. Either I find these quotes now, or I keep ploughing forward. I am in the midst of the draft I hope to turn in on April 1. I want it to be very far along. As in almost done. When I do keep ploughing, though, I feel troubled. What about those unfound quotes? Will I find them? It makes everything I am writing afterwards feel crumbly, like sand, as though the text is resting on an unfirm foundation, the kind that is shifting and might collapse.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Tamsen Endicott permalink
    January 11, 2011 8:26 pm

    find the quotes, you’ll feel better

  2. January 11, 2011 10:34 pm

    Tammy, I always like your hard headedness. I am finding the quotes right now.

  3. Carolyn Cooke permalink
    January 11, 2011 10:46 pm

    As if the quotes themselves were made of breast milk – essential substance nurturing the book, quick to sour when exposed to the wet rag of revision. But seriously, I do this all the time – give myself gigantic offhand assignments for later. CLEAN UP, I’ll command the person (me) whose job it is to come in and mop up hairy sentences. Or GO DEEP HERE. As if stories were so many Oreos embedded in an old shag rug. As if writing were some kind of domestic chore. Which it so profoundly and happily isn’t.

  4. January 11, 2011 11:31 pm

    oreos. Yes, it is like we are leaving shopping lists scattered about. i love that word “sour” these days. Everyone in the marys is “soured” or sour. unlike the author of the marys who is unsour.

  5. Emily Maniscalco permalink
    January 12, 2011 8:26 am

    When I was slogging through my thesis, I would flag the quotations needing citation, and save them up for a day when my brain was a little fried. Then again, finding a quotation for me often required slogging a mile to the center of town, calling up a book that might take a couple of hours/a day to be retrieved from the stacks (if the underground book train was not stuck, which required the street being torn up), and hoping that I had written down the correct title. Somehow, I imagine that you’re working with a more efficient system.

  6. January 12, 2011 9:17 am

    the street being torn up! Tell me more.

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