It turns out I will not be enrolling in a manuscript workshop starting on March 21 after all. I have learned from the workshop’s director that not enough people have signed up. The workshop is off, for this round.
My first emotion was surprise. In Brooklyn, where writers and aspiring writers are more numerous, if ideally less unsanitary, than cockroaches, we can’t get five or six of them in one room with their manuscripts? People! Get off the couch! Cancel your Netflix subscription! If I, the laziest person on earth, can write a rough draft of a novel, the rest of you have no excuse.
My second emotion was … not disappointment. It was something larger. I was crestfallen; the air had come out of the souffle. I had not realized, until it was gone, how I had been organizing my mind around the prospect of March 21 deadline. Without it, I seemed to have lost all sense of hope and purpose.
At least, for an hour or so I did. Then I decided to look on the bright side. I will continue with my plan to write a new Chapter 1, revise the whole thing, and fill in the missing parts. By the time Sackett Street is ready to offer the workshop, my manuscript will be a thing of beauty.
Anyway, that’s the plan.
In other news, the most recent online version of Persuasions is up! All of the articles are well-written and fascinating, offering a variety of looks at Jane Austen’s life and work. But the most personally relevant was a discussion by Linda Robinson Walker about whether Jane Austen might have died of a recurrence of the typhus that nearly carried her off at age 7. Brill-Zinsser disease, as the recurrent typhus is known, is rare today, as is typhus, since it is carried by lice.