Monday, January 01, 2007

Collages and Christmas letters . . .

You thought we were done with Christmas, didn't you?

Well, most people probably are. The Greek Orthodox, however, are gearing up for it this week -- and I'm still finishing my Christmas letter. I've been busy -- juggling. But finally I'm there. It's not like it's deathless prose or anything, but I like doing it.

It's sort of an end of the year "Hi, how are things? We've survived. Another son got married. The dogs keep us fit. The grandkids keep us honest. The prof's still teaching. I'm still writing. See you next year, we hope" kind of letter.

And generally it takes me more time to write than it did for us to live the entire year in slow motion. But it's done.

The letter is written, the particular pictures to represent events of the year have been chosen, reduced, inserted, messed about, word wrapped, tinkered with, proofread and are now -- we hope -- ready to be printed. That will take place tomorrow (and so will the getting them mailed, I trust). That's like a left-over Christmas resolution finished that I had to get done before I could even think about New Year's.

And . . . ta-da! . . . I did my collage! Another not-quite resolution accomplished.

I sat down this morning while a bunch of bands and floats trundled past out in Pasadena, and cut out pictures and taped them neatly onto a piece of poster board. It is not great art. It isn't even passable art. But it does what Anne Gracie and Barbara Hannay and Jennifer Crusie and other collage gurus tell me it is supposed to do: it evokes the book.

I told Anne it was mostly about people. Apparently even my collages are 'character driven.' There are a few bits and pieces of Irish castly sorts of places in it and a treehouse and an Irish wolfhound. But mostly it's about people: some little boys (Liam and friends) and an Other Woman and Flynn's brother -- and a sister that, until I cut her out of the magazine I didn't know he had (who knew my subconcious could use scissors?).

There are also several pix of Flynn and Sara in various states of emotion -- distant and detached (that would be Sara), suave and charming (guess who?), playful and delighted, pensive, wounded, shattered. Somehow I missed the happy ending clinch pic, but I think I can imagine that.

Anyway, there are way more people than places or events or -- in fact -- anything. I'm very intrigued by that. I think I need to begin over-compensating for a lack of setting. I probably need to start hacking up National Geographics. Or better yet, tomorrow I'm hoping to book reservations for Ireland. Maybe that's what I've been waiting for.

I'm also thinking I may need to develop a collage-in-process as I write the book. As things occur, they will get slapped onto a piece of poster board. After all, I never even got to dip into my "stately British homes" mags. Note to self: buy more poster board.

The Brides contest has begun with a bang! Lots and lots of entries today. Obviously some people in the world were not watching college bowl football. Most of them seem to live in England, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. I am counting on the Americans to catch up by the weekend.


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