Lois Lowry's Blog
This afternoon, while working on writing a speech, I decided to try to find a letter that I received probably 26 or 27 years ago. I was referring to it in the speech, and I knew I had saved it, so I went looking. I pulled open a drawer that had probably last been opened in 1995.
Here is the stuff I took out of that drawer.
I didn't find the letter. But I have now spent several hours going through what I can only title "saved stuff." And the most amazing stuff is the collection of writings from so far back that they are typed on erasable typing paper; it was painful, looking at those pages, and remembering what hard work it used to be to write! All that rolling in-and-out of paper. Correcting typos. And then revising! Forget it! It meant you had to retype the whole thing.
I found a picture book text called "Grandma's Alligator"which I think I had shown to my (now long retired) editor, and he hadn't liked it.....but I still do. Hmmpphh.
But the really interesting thing is an adult novel that I never finished. A thriller, actually. I even had written out a synopsis of each section Parts 1, 2, and 3---and I have to say that some scenes sent a chill up my spine. And I had done research of the most grisly sort! There are xeroxed pages—I remember a doctor friend got these for me from a hospital library—detailing the most minute charges to a corpse as it decays. The manuscript has a body lying undiscovered in a Maine cabin in late fall...so decompositon is relatively slow. And tension does mount!
Could I go back to it and finish it now? I still like its premise and in re-reading I think the suspense holds up and the main character is believable, sympathetic, and interesting. But the problem is, she's a photographer. A housewife and mother to 8-year-old twins, but also a very gifted and serious photographer with a darkroom connected to her house. This was written back in, oh, probably 1979-1980. A lot of scenes (a lot of suspense, actually) take place in her darkroom. There's one particularly unnerving scene when one of her children wanders (disobediently) into the darkroom and comes out holding a damp, crumpled image and says, "What's this? It's gross"..and what it is, is an extreme close-up of part of the dead body.
Anyway: you can see the problem. These days anyone with a decent digital camera can be a "photographer," a term which has little meaning anymore. The mystery and beauty of darkrrom chemistry is long gone.
So I think my book manuscript will go back into its drawer and remain unfinished.
Its title, incidentally, was/is a photographic phrase: GRAB SHOT.