I’m delighted to announce the birth of a 388-page, 95,606-word, big fat red baby. Mother is knackered but happy. It’s a first draft, still pretty raw in places (especially the 70+ pages I wrote here), so I have more work to do to get it in shape, but I’m proud of having gotten to an end, if not THE END. I have four bottles of Taittinger stuck in the snow bank outside Colony Hall, and I expect that I and my fellow colonists will have no trouble polishing them off tonight. And indeed [writing several days later], we didn’t. And now, here’s your laugh for the day, or maybe for the month: Last week I drove up to Canada, a 6-hour journey each way, to see the border and figure out how my heroine, Hannah, could possibly cross it illegally 30 years from now. At the checkpoint, the guard was chatting me up, asking why I was coming to Canada and why I chose this very remote point on a tiny little road in NY to cross the border, as opposed to crossing on the Interstate. And of course, being me, I told her all about it (in French, with complete confidence). And she basically said the French version of, “Step out of the car, ma’am.” And she took my passport and disappeared for about 10 minutes, and then reappeared with another guard, who watched me and questioned me while the first woman did a very thorough search of my vehicle, during which time I kept saying, “Ç’est pas moi, ç’est mon heroine!”: It’s not me, it’s my heroin(e)! To cut to the chase, they finally let me go, evidently concluding that I wasn’t a drug smuggler, just a complete idiot. All I can say in my own defense is that I was extremely tired and RED-addled.
That being the low point, one of the high points of last week was being part of my new friend Itty’s art project. Itty Neuhaus is a visual artist working on a very cool film installation about glaciers, which she has been shooting for many months using time lapse. She’s imagining the secret life of glaciers, superimposing other images (e.g., a strawberry, people doing various things) on the part that’s under the water. One of which is going to be me, falling back into the snow and making a snow angel! I had a lot of fun during the shoot, though I couldn't feel my bottom for about five hours afterward. If you haven’t made a snow angel in a while, I highly recommend it.
And finally, I wanted to tell you about my new favorite game, PIG, which involves lots of people running madly around a pool table, trying to thwack two balls together. You take turns, the object being to keep the stripe always in motion using the solid. But you can only “shoot” (you use your hands, not a stick) from the two ends, otherwise you’re off sides. Needless to say this gives the tall people a totally unfair advantage. I’m not one of the better PIG players — people are always really happy if they’re after me in the lineup — but it’s a lot of fun, and has been my sole form of exercise here apart from a few frigid walks. The unrelentingly scrumptious food has taken its toll; by the tightness of my jeans I'm guessing I’ve gained 5 pounds. Which actually isn’t bad — I gained 20 with MUDBOUND.
Made a chilly (maybe 15?) pilgrimage to Edward and Marian's graves today with a few of my favorite people. Packing now, dance party at Dan’s studio tonight, home tomorrow. A magnificent five weeks. Thank you, MacDowell!