What is to be gained is PROGRESS what the deuce [what the hell!] it is to be found here.
-Horace Mann Livens

What the deuce! Not as much progress was made on the book this week as I wanted, but here's a bit of research trivia: 

The person I've quoted, H.M. Livens, was a buddy of Vincent Van Gogh's. They became friends while they were both studying at the Academy in Antwerp and then H.M. stayed in touch when Vincent moved to Paris. Imagine two young artists trying to pursue a living with their art.

Today H.M. may be best known for having painted the earliest recorded portrait of Vincent. Later H.M. moved to England and helped to found the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers. American-born James McNeill Whistler was its first president. 

But what I found poignant is that H.M.Livens’ own highly accomplished work as both painter and printmaker is now barely known. Many of his works were lost from German bombing air raids during WWII, and then the remaining artwork and prints by a devastating fire at his widow’s home. I was struck by the idea that just as one friend's artwork is lost forever, Vincent's work could have been lost as well, if not for Johanna Van Gogh. 

How I'm Writing the Book

Preparation for Book Sprint: I've enrolled in a "writing sprint" for the end of October. It's a 60-hour intense dive into starting the book. The program will include group discussion, individual writing assignments, review and then incorporating feedback.  I had NOT intended to immerse myself into writing the book before I retired. (So far I've been mostly reading and researching, exploring what fictional backstory makes sense to me, and practicing storytelling through this weekly blog.) HOWEVER, I know that a new muscle I need to develop is to write for longer periods of time instead of grabbing a few hours here and there. This will be my first test. Juan will leave town...perhaps he doesn't want to be around for the implosion?

Books I’m Reading:  I finished All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr just in time for my book club meeting on Tuesday. So many intricate themes! I read in the "Acknowledgments" that it took the Doerr 10 years to write it. I've just begun another Pulitzer Prize winner (and National Book Award and Oprah's Book Club winners), The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead.  

On a final note, I know I usually quote the same individual at the beginning and end of my blogs, but this week I'm breaking tradition. As H.M. says, what the hell, here's an ending quote from a completely different artist:

Without deviation progress is not possible.
-Frank Zappa

Time to deviate!

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