Wednesday 2 September 2009

Real Work

The first Wednesday of a new start: work on my own book. Kind advice from J: 'Say No'. He means, to people wanting my input on other projects. (He and Helen are off to Germany today- till next July. Nine and a half months)

Too late already, a small commitment was made - enough to stop me from falling outside the circle of friendship.

The newsletter (out on time with an error in the date on the cover) took 40 hours to produce, too long. The previous editor said she spent 20 h per issue: ask others to edit the too-long articles, she said. I shall spread the work over two weeks after all, doing it in the afternoons - not every afternoon - keeping the morning for Real Work.

After reading a NY Review of Books article which mentioned John Lukacs, started on The Duel, Hitler vs Churchill, 10 May-31 July 1940 (1990, The Bodley Head, London). Not the book reviewed, unfortunately, as it's not yet available here.

Lukacs is a thoughtful expert; he writes well, a pleasure. Reading it now is self-indulgence: the material suits the second part of the book, set in that time in England, though there are some direct benefits. For instance, he says: "In 1940, London was the largest city in the world." Something the children in my story will know and wonder about, coming from a provincial German city.

Goal: list the material to read from the overseas archives, plus the material available online. Program the reading and translating, a little every day, not thinking about the end.

I am fearful of re-reading my MS, worried it may trigger a frenzy of fiddling, rather than the broad reshaping it needs.

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