Little Blue is Completed! And Finally I Am Updating this Blog

posted September 4, 2018
by Sean Thomas Dougherty

This might be the longest I’ve gone between  blog posts. And what do you do when you have failed to keep up with the practice of reporting one’s life, craning one’s neck in the peculiar way I do to take a look at myself? Maybe just jot down some thoughts.

I know perfectly well why I haven’t written. I have spent the summer working steadily on the revision of  The Big Idea, and while I am close, I am not going to finish this new draft of my novel by September 4. I am unsure where the book is going to land. I know how it ends–I know how each of my eight beloved characters goes off into the sunset. But I am not sure, I guess, where to end it and how to say it. But I am sure this will become clear in time, and fortunately I have time: both dedicated time, in my weekly groups and weekend retreats, and…well, no one is breathing down my neck to finish this. Except me.

Little Blue is complete. I had a fantastic book group meeting there last Sunday. We read The Hate U Give, and while we usually meet as adults only, this time we invited our tweens and teens to join us, as my daughter Lila was the one to suggest this book. The discussion was fantastic! If ever I worry about the planet, I think about my kids and your kids. They are changing everything, minute by minute, for the better.

Book Group gals

Moving In day was exciting. We couldn’t have done it without this kid I found at Sears and his twin brother. They are my moving dudes. They insisted on calling us “Sir” and “Ma’am” until Tom told them to stop. Then they didn’t call us anything.

Good thing for the twins, because no one in our family can lift anything at all after backpacking in the ADKs last week. Seriously, I think I have some ribs missing.

In the Adirondacks, there are 46 peaks over 400 feet, and it is a Thing to do them all. For some strange reason, perfectly normal people become besotted with the ambition to climb all these peaks. Even those who don’t really like hiking, like my mother, get bit by the bug. In the 80s, after years of being dragged up tall mountains against her will (she would much rather have been out on the tennis court), my mother counted up her peaks. It was in the 30s. She and my father figured out just how many trips it would take to get her to her 46th peak before her 46th birthday. Game on. Thus Katryna and Abigail and I became 46rs too.

Now Tom is halfway to 46, and the kids are all lapping at his heels, so to speak. Our Grand Plan is to summit Whiteface as their 46th so the grandparents can join us (Whiteface is the one 46r that comes equipped with a road. And a restaurant. Skiers, bah!) So this year, some others of us who will not be named (though one of them is your author, here) got dragged kicking and screaming up to Panther Lean-to. We spent the night in 45 degree drizzle and almost froze. Fortunately, my uncle Brian and aunt Jenifer came too, and Brian somehow lit a fire despite the wet kindling. Jenifer had packed extra wool socks, which was good since none of my kids had wool socks, and Cotton Kills, etc.

Little Blue in July, right before Summer Writing Camp

Can you believe we are wearing wool hats? And many layers of fleece? We could see our breath in the morning!

Yesterday in Keene, it was a high of 87, hot and muggy according to Jenifer. In church last Sunday, we talked about Climate Change and its effects on the west coast. Lila and I went to London in July, and it looked more like golden California than wet, green, cool Britain. It’s hard not to get angry about this, because the alternatives are 1. terrified and 2. blotto. What’s required seems to be patience, optimism, realism, ingenuity, minute-by-minute attention to our actions.

Which brings me to faith, which is so hard to write about. Maybe because it’s the most dangerous, intimate aspect of ourselves, and as soon as I say anything about my thoughts and feelings, I feel clumsy and wrong. Yet when I read another’s writing about this subject, it’s as if a light is shining in the darkness. When we share these lights, we never know who will see it. I love the way Angie Thomas can do this in The Hate U Give.  The light pours in through her characters.

I believe in something. I always have. If pressed, I’d have to say I think it’s Out There, but I also know that it’s deep within me, and within each of us. And it’s between us. I am not concerned about what we call this Something; it seems all the trouble between people of faith begins with naming, that egotistical insistence on putting a handle on the ineffable. Do we all have God within? Sure. And we are all hopelessly corrupt containers. I think that’s the paradox.

My daughter, nephew and I are sitting in Little Blue right now. She is writing her back-to-school essay, he is reading his summer reading book (Phantom Tollbooth) and I am writing this. Well, also I am doing some online shopping for bedding and trying to get my husband on the phone. Little Blue now has wifi, a projector, a Sonos system, a carpet, a bed and a shower curtain. Also screens for the porch and furniture, and two woodstoves. We’re stylin’. I can’t wait for the writers and guitarists and young singers to join us here.


The Comments

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  1. Little Blue looks GORGEOUS! and soooooo peaceful. Great work has already gone forward there; imagining the great work to come makes us smile deeply. Gratitude to YOU and your vision for all the Writers and perseverance in bringing that vision forth for the light.

    I’m an elderly ex-jock gone very far to seed, but I really think I could handle a few of those 400-footers! ;-P

  2. So excited that Little Blue is finally finished and ready to welcome all kinds of creative connections and endeavors. Congratulations! Can’t wait to read The Hate U Give and re-read The Phantom Tollbooth, an old favorite. Summer’s not really over yet.

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