Evelyn's Blog for March 3, 2018 - PHOTOS FROM THE KIDS IN ISRAEL

REMEMBER Chris's photojournalism in India? Well, he's at it again, as is Hillary, in Israel. Take a look:

 Pomegranates

Pomegranates

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Goat heads. I never before saw this. Remember in the film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," the gal describes Christmas at their house where the uncles take the eyeballs and run around scaring the little kids with them.

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 Chris 

Chris 

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Halvah

 The Kingdom of Halvah

The Kingdom of Halvah

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 The remaining wall from Second Temple - Holiest Site 

The remaining wall from Second Temple - Holiest Site 

 YAD VASHEM  - Holocaust Museum

YAD VASHEM  - Holocaust Museum

 Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem

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 Yaniv & Olga - Relatives (in my novel THE PROVIDER, Yaniv's grandfather was the son of Rosa's brother who ran away from the war.)

Yaniv & Olga - Relatives (in my novel THE PROVIDER, Yaniv's grandfather was the son of Rosa's brother who ran away from the war.)

 Hillary writes: Some scholars say these were homes built in the 13th or 12th centuries BCE. Other scholars say these are ruins from the palace of King David.

Hillary writes: Some scholars say these were homes built in the 13th or 12th centuries BCE. Other scholars say these are ruins from the palace of King David.

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The presence of the toilet seat attests to the high standard of living of the people who lived here.

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Tomb of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus is said to be buried.

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the Holy Sepulchre of Jesus

 Ancient remains of an aqueduct.

Ancient remains of an aqueduct.

 Jerusalem Forest

Jerusalem Forest

 Hillary had been to India & Napol, but, like a nice Jewish girl, she found Nirvana in Israel.

Hillary had been to India & Napol, but, like a nice Jewish girl, she found Nirvana in Israel.

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NEW SUBJECT:  A follow-up about my two film friends on our cruise to Eastern Europe last December. 

Hello Evelyn

I want to offer my sincere apology for not following up with you sooner.  It’s amazing how life can just get busy and time flits by.  I hope you are doing well and that the New Year is treating you well so far.  

I recently had lunch with my friend whom I told you about.  His company is going through a restructuring at the moment and his future there is a bit up in the air.   I was hopeful that I might be able to help with your book in some way but sadly that isn’t the case.  

All the best to you and Marv,

Todd

MY ANSWERING LETTER:

Thank you, Todd, for being so conscientious. It seems the the film business is as slippery/ tough/ fickle as the literary agent/publishing business.

By the way, your friend whose "future is a bit up in the air” may be interested in looking at my novels as they are "very cinematic" according to the late Joni Gordon, creator and owner for 35 years of Newspace Art Gallery. Her resting place with the Smithsonian Archives is assured after a most extensive interview. 

Your friend may be interested for the future in looking at my sites (first, the Amazon site for a quick compressive read, and second the website for my blogs and bio):

EvelynMarshall.com

Amazon.com/author/evelynmarshall/

714.220.1882 (for messages), 714.336.7007 (Cell)

One more word about fine films for you and Scott to see.  The incredible foreign film “Babette’s Feast” will appeal to your knowledge of imagery. And the message is starkly apt to the imagery. 

For me now, since I have written a number of novels and short where the seed kernel is a love story (not a romance), I’m venturing out with a new novel, “A Woman of a Certain Age”. It seems like a logical step. I will be working on it for quite a while.

To you and your friend, and to Scott, I wish you stamina and eternal optimism for a bright future in the film industry.

Evelyn


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon

Evelyn's Blog for February 24, 2018 - 'A WOMAN OF A CERTAIN AGE'

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“Women of a Certain Age” is a phrase that has intrigued me for years. So after writing lots of novels and short stories about women in difficult positions, this idea seems a natural.

The phrase is hypnotic to lots of women (and men). Thornton Wilder wrote the play as a farce in 1938; in 1954 it was a  movie (“The Matchmaker”) starring Shirley Booth; and in 1964 it was put to music/lyrics by Jerry Herman.

Since then, there have been countless Dollys, among them Carole Channing, Barbra Streisand, Pearl Bailey, Mary Martin, and now Bette Midler.

We are sympathetic to the Dolly Levis of this world. They are women who live by their smarts. Dolly is a survivor, but she has had her darker moments (regrets and mistakes). Before she enters the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant, she asks her deceased husband Ephraim for a sign, permission to join the parade before it's too late.

 She sings the song "Before the "Parade Passes by"—

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Before it goes on
And only I'm left
Before the parade passes by
I've gotta get in step while there's still time left
I'm ready to move out in front
Life without life has no reason or rhyme left
With the rest of them
With the best of them
I wanna hold my head up high
I need a goal again
I need a drive again
I wanna feel my heart coming alive again

Before the parade passes by

Before the parade passes by
I've gotta go and taste Saturday's high life
Before the parade passes by
I've gotta get some life back into my life
I'm ready to move out in front
I've had enough of just passing by life
With the rest of them
With the best of them

I can hold my head up high
For I've got a goal again—

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By definition, a woman of a certain age is no longer in her early twenties; the men are no longer looking her way; her career choices have wasted into limitations or dead-ends; she did not marry the man she should have, and did marry the man she should not have. Did she look too hard for Mr. Right? Not hard enough? She feels left behind to fend for herself. She is a spinster, a widow, a divorcee, a wife, a single mother.  She may feel short-changed by life. (Did you know that a cynic is a disappointed romantic?)

My sister-in-law Sandra Marshall (actress and comedian) is a woman of  a certain age. She said, "I hate those old guys who date and marry young girls and discount us completely."

I'm certainly going to include her opinion in the novel.  The working title will be "A Woman of a Certain Age". If any of you, male or female, have some strong opinions that you'd like to unload, please come right ahead at Evelyn@EvelynMarshall.com.


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


Evelyn's Blog for Sat, February 17, 2018 - AN INTERVIEW WITH ME

One of my readers who requested anonymity asked to interview me.

 This is not his photo.

This is not his photo.

 

I asked him, "Do you want to dissect me?

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No, no. I'll ask the usual questions.

Okay, shoot!

Q: Did you always want to be writer?

A: No. My first choice, at ager 5, was being a CLASSICAL PIANIST.

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At are 13, I began studying with a “new” teacher  who said I had to memorize every note, as with a photographic memory. That was impossible for me. I quit.

Second choice was THEATRE. 

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UCLA: The professor called back me every day for the auditions to "Hedda Gabler" for the LEAD. I was a freshman and never read the complete play, overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. After that, I experimented with one-act plays, did not take to the chaotic lifestyle, and left college.

I went into outer space.

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Q: What do you mean?

 

A: Here’s the story. When Marv and I moved into our house,I began to teach high school: three years later I became pregnant. After Hillary was born and was in school, I began to take more English classes. I had graduated college as an English major, but I had an appetite for more: Comparative Lit., Shakespeare, European Lit.—”  Even so, I gradually felt I was disappearing. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I started to substitute teach, but I was searching for something other than teaching.  From time to time, my friends would say, “Oh Evelyn, you should write”.  I would retort, “No, no. It’s the way I talk. I’m an animated talker”. And I would forget about it. However, one day in the slumps,

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I sat down at the typewriter and typed the way I talked: a test case.

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When I pulled the paper out of the roller and read it, I said out loud, “Hah! I’m correct. There’s nothing here.” I tossed the paper away. And that was that.

Time marched on. Hillary came home from high school one day with her girlfriend who said to me, “My mother is writing a novel.” It was like the blast from a cannon.

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Without a second of hesitation, I turned on automatic. I telephoned the mother.

“Let’s go out for coffee. I’ve got to talk with you.” That mother told me she had enrolled in a novels workshop. My life changed.

Q: Do you have any regrets about turning in this direction?

A: Yes, that I didn’t start writing in my twenties. What a waste.

Q: What is your writing routine? I mean, when do you do your writing?

A: Like most writers, I write productively in the morning hours, about three hours.  My second wind comes at night, but writing at night stimulates me too much. I suffer insomnia anyway.

Q: Do you write in longhand or directly onto the computer?

A: I was taught to get into the habit of writing on the computer as soon as possible. With my mighty cup of coffee (logo for my former newsletters), I quickly started on the computer.  Today I stand at the computer (better for the back), but my first novels were written sitting down.

Q: What was the most significant event in your life, I mean beside marriage and motherhood?

A: Attending college a second time. I had dropped out of UCLA, a theatre arts major. Then five years after Marv married me, my wonderful husband said (out of the blue), “Do you want a house or do you want to go back to college?” I replied, “I can always have a house. I want to go back to college.” I started from scratch.

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Q: Did your husband (who was earning his doctorate at USC at the time) have advice for you as you re-entered college?

A: I should say so! “Always sit in the first or second row of class so that your attention stays focused, and never get behind in your homework.” I listened to him, thank God.

Q: But you did not return to UCLA. Why not?

A: I needed to stay focused. In classes of 250 students at UCLA, I didn’t have a chance. So I attended a state college, CA State U at Northridge, where there were only 30 students in the class. Interestingly, the Eastern Seaboard colleges (e.g., Yale) had at that time very small ratios of professors to students (1: 8). I thrived in the smaller classes and was taken into the English Honors Program. 

Q: THE PROVIDER was your first novel. Did you have trouble deciding what the subject would be for your first novel?

A: No. It was a given. That novel was all around me. I grew up living that novel.

Q: So, is it your favorite?

A. Yes. And my most personal. In the same way that Eliah Kazan’s most personal screenplay was “America, America”, and Billy Crystal’s was “Mr. Saturday Night”.

Q: Would you say your themes have a similarity?

A: Yes. Not unusual. Most writers handle the same theme over and over, but from different angles. I treat aspects of love stories, not romances. 

Q. You started writing late in life. You inspire people who think it’s never to late. I think the only person who started later was Harriet Doerr with her fine novel “Stones of Ibarra”. I think it was her Master’s Thesis at Stanford, and she received lots of encouragement at age 70.  She continued to write, but not as much as you. You were like a locomotive: I mean once you got started you kept going, and are still going with five published novels and two yet to be published. And there are some short stories. Do you think you will continue to write novels?

A: That’s an interesting question. The last novel I wrote was “An Incident in the Family”. It wrote itself and I held onto its coattails. What I came to the end of what I wanted to say, I simply stopped. It was unlike anything I had written. Since then, I have been writing short stories.  Something happened with that experience. I’m not certain where my writing will go from here.

Often, Henry James has written short stories that he thought would turn into novels; some did. We'll see.

I just wrote a short story, “The Arrangement”, with the intention of turning it into a novella or a novel. But I restrained it into a short story. Why? There was great fun in resolving the problem early.   “The Arrangement”, along with a few other new short stories, may appear in a collection.

Q: Your literary voice is distinctive.  I would say that your narrative style is lyrical, and you balance it with a great deal of  suspenseful dialog.  Do you consider yourself a stylist?

A: Yes.

Q: Ms. Marshall, I enjoy your writings very much. Will you permit me to interview you again in the future?

A: Most certainly.


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


Evelyn's Blog - Feb 10, 2018 - "THE DEBT"

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A WORD ABOUT MY SHORT STORY - ON AMAZON KINDLE

Recently I mentioned that I would be selling a short story on Amazon.  This is how the idea came about:

I learned that people do not like to read fiction on blogs. A case was made for an author who only sold six copies of her short story on her blog, but when she sold it on Amazon for $2.99 it went like a crazy sale.  Well, I had put up one of my short stories on my website for FREE, and interestingly only six people wrote to me about it (raved about it, by the way) .

So, I removed the FREE sign and have just put the same short story on AMAZON KINDLE.  The story is "The Debt" which was a Finalist with Glimmer Train, one of the most prestigious literary journals. Here's the scoop:

"Jewish young man and gentile young woman become engaged, then marry. The young man works for the United Nations. Will its ideals work for these two cultures confronting each other?"

Please take a look at this short story "The Debt" on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B079NT72Z8.  

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It's even better now that I've edited it one more time. If it flies as a solo with enough sales, I'll put up more stories that are absolute pips!

Please tell your friends to become my blog subscribers. Very  easy to remember the address: EvelynMarshall.com. 

And Now On To A Novel/Film...

 Edith Wharton's Ancestral Home "The Mount"

Edith Wharton's Ancestral Home "The Mount"

'THE AGE OF INNOCENCE' - Novel/Film

Edith Wharton is one of my favorite authors. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature with "The Age of Innocence". She wrote about the highest tiers of wealth and society, in which she lived, about their locked-in code of impeccable behavior, while beneath that code roared gossip and hypocrisy, immorality and corruption.  

 Although published in 1920 and awarded  the Pulitzer in 1921, the era depicted was the 1850's. It was her 12th novel.

Although published in 1920 and awarded  the Pulitzer in 1921, the era depicted was the 1850's. It was her 12th novel.

 Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton

She came from the uppermost reaches of American wealth that she depicted. She married a man who proved unfaithful (and unbalanced) and remained married to him for 25 years. But she broke loose in her literature and in her subsequent life in Paris helping the WW1 war effort. Edith Wharton was a critic of her social class who sacrificed the individual to unbending tradition. She writes with excruciating honesty and wit.

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The film is magnificently close to Edith Wharton’s novel. The surprise is the producer-director: Martin Scorsese, generally known for his gangster films. He made this masterpiece of a film in homage to his father.

The film is a fastidiously elegant work of art visually, narratively, and in every other way.  The actors did their part:   Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, and Michelle Pfeiffer, and all the character actors. 

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The novel begins at an opera where the upper class is properly sitting in their boxes. “Boxes” is a metaphor for locked-in proper place for decorum and standards.

There are two main women in the novel: the loving conformist wife May, Ryder) and his mistress Madame Olenska (Pfeiffer), the decadent woman who speaks to Newland Archer's artistic sensibilities. Archer is trapped between these two. His wife traps him and he falls back into the society of conformity and responsibility.

Of Edith Wharton's novels, I also recommend, "House of Mirth",  "Custom of the Country", and "Ethan Frome".  Of her short stories, 'Roman Fever' stands out. But "An Age of Innocence" is her absolute finest work.

The following BIO is from Google:

Wharton's life changed when World War I began. She traveled extensively by motorcar through Europe, opening schools and hostels for refugees in northern France and Belgium. She also wrote reports for American publications, supporting American involvement in the war. After the war, Wharton only returned to the United States once in her lifetime (to accept her Pulitzer prize).

Throughout her life, Wharton frequently held salon, hosting gatherings where the most gifted intellectuals of her time could share thoughts and discuss ideas. Teddy Roosevelt, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway were all Wharton's guests at one time or another. Besides these salons, Wharton's friendship with Henry James had an immense influence on her work. Wharton continued writing voraciously until her death at age 75 in France. She is buried in the American Cemetery at Versailles.

A WORD ABOUT TRAVELING

In this novel "The Age of Innocence",  society travelled on giant ships for months at a time. They brought their trunks and pets, and were spoiled with constant dining sociability, indulgent room service, and daily town tours. 

Marv and I have traveled a great deal through the world. People think that travelers automatically have lots of material to write about. Not true. There’s no connection. Maybe some scenery, but not in terms of interesting plots.  I say this because as with the wealthy set, such as in “The Age of Innocence," they returned home the same people as before they left. Only fatter.

When taking a river cruise,  so many hours are spent in the constant comforts of sociability and dining, of cabin services, that the daily tours into the towns often pale by comparison and even wash together:  “When you’ve seen one castle, you’ve seen them all.”

Let's say for a moment that your hometown is Oxnard or Bakersfield or Salinas, and you take the Grand Tour of Europe. Do you come home plot heavy? Or just try writing lots of description and see what you've got that others want to read.  I think what you say is, "Home sweet home".


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


Evelyn's Blog for February 3, 2018 - THE SELF-HATING JEW, PHILIP ROTH????

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After my last blog (Jan 27, 2018) on a film review of Philip Roth’s novel “The Human Stain”, a subscriber wrote:

“Yikes. That movie sounds terribly depressing. I can’t wait to see it. I will order it now from Netflix.’

Another subscriber wrote, “Philip Roth is a self-hating Jew”. I wrote back, “Understandable”.

HAARETZ,  May 26, 2014: (Haaretz is a prominent Israeli newspaper)

No Complaints From Philip Roth as U.S. Jewish Institution Honors Him

NOVELIST ONCE SCORNED AS 'SELF-HATING JEW' IS GIVEN HONORARY DOCTORATE BY JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.

Philip Roth, whose early fiction satirizing American Jewish life made him persona non grata among the pillars of the community back in the '60s, has been awarded one of those pillars' highest honor. The Forward reports that New York's Jewish Theological Seminary gave Roth, 81, an honorary doctorate Thursday night.

When he accepted the award, the audience gave the novelist a "sustained standing ovation."

Roth's comedic portraits of overly protective Eastern European immigrant parents, and of the nouveau riche, American-born generation that succeeded them, won him the scorn of many American Jews who considered him a self-hating Jew, one who shamed his people in front of the gentiles. In 1962, he was shaken by the loud, hostile reception he got from students at Yeshiva University during a literary symposium. He vowed to "never write about Jews again." The vow was short-lived.

In 2011 he received the National Humanities Medal at the White House, and was later named the fourth recipient of the Man Booker International Prize. He is the recipient of the National Book Award, and is often short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Literature. 

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After a tremendously prolific career including some 30 novels, several books of non-fiction and dozens of short stories, Roth announced in 2012 that he was written out and was retiring as an author. After a reading early this month at New York's 92nd Street Y, he said he was through with public appearances, too. But last week it was announced that he will guest on the "Colbert Report" in July.

JTS chancellor Arnold Eisen, a sociologist, told the Forward that Roth was "the greatestsociologist on American Jewish life, without doubt."

“To write novels requires more than I now have of mental vitality, verbal energy, and physical fitness. My chief pleasure comes in reading.” Philip Roth 

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So I wrote him a letter. (Sent it to his literary agency)

February 1, 2018

Dear Mr. Roth:

Dostoyevsky said, “Truth shines in misfortune”.
Arthur Miller said it in “Death of a Salesman”.
John Cheever said it in the short story “A Pot Gold”.

I am sending you a copy of THE PROVIDER for your reading pleasure.

Sincerely,

Evelyn Marshall

NEW SUBJECT FOR MY SUBSCRIBERS.  Today in the Wall Street Journal, “Life and Arts Section”, I read a long article about literary agents eager for books on FEMALE SOLIDARITY. They want to capitalize on the new wave in the feminist movement.  They’re calling them “Me, too!” books. I will send the listed agents a pitch on “Concerning Georgia Stekker” because this novel certainly is a leader in this wave.  I will permit a new publication. An interesting turn of events, eh!


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


Evelyn's Blog for Jan 27, 2018 - FILM REVIEW

I brought home from our cruise through Eastern Europe a form of influenza that bludgeoned me with huge bouts of sleep. I slept for three weeks.

My waking hours were chaotic. Up at 3 a.m.

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 TV was my faithful companion.

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I watched the film “The Human Stain,” written by Philip Roth. I have read a good deal of Roth. In fact, I glutted on Roth at one time; that’s the way it is with Roth. I had forgotten this novel and wanted a refresher.

 

Summary. Anthony Hopkins is Coleman Silk, the dean and professor of Classics at a small college.

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He tells his story to his alter ego/narrator, Nathan Zuckerman (Gary Sinise) who appears in many of Roth’s novels and who will write this story.

 

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The story begins. One day in class Coleman vents on the two students who have never come to class.  “They are ‘spooks,” he says. It turns out those absent students are black and accuse the professor of being a racist.  Political Correctness is raging.  Silk is fired. The irony is that he is black himself, “passing” for the last 50 years as white and Jewish. When accused of racism, he never speaks up about living a lie (he has 4 children and a wife who has a heart attack over the racist lie and dies).

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Coleman enters an affair with a sexually loose, semi-literate Nicole Kidman (Faunia) who was abused by her stepfather, and whose mother didn’t believe her, and later her unbalanced Vietnam veteran husband (Ed Harris) stalks her and accuses her of the fire that burned her two children to death).

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Faunia has three menial jobs to keep busy. “Action keeps a person from thinking,” she says. Both Coleman and Faunia relate to each other by their circumstances, instead of their class differences which ordinarily would be insurmountable. (Aside from racism, class differences would be a stain in itself.)

We think of the term “The Human Condition” as applying to all people’s circumstances, luck, failures, and possibilities of redemption. The title of the film/novel connotes family stains, from which a person cannot free himself. Both Coleman and Faunia are trapped, and commit suicide together by driving off the road.

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How could I have forgotten this novel? you ask. The answer is that it was the last novel of Roth’s that I read, after ‘An American Pastoral” which I thought was his very best, and I was running out of steam.

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After I wrote my novel “An Incident in the Family,” which amazingly took only a few months, I opened the door to writing a collection of short stories. 

I’m thinking of putting one of the stories on Amazon for $2.99 to see if it flies.  

 

 


 
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Facebook has been excavating my old articles, and some of them are pertinent. Here's one (Jan 18, 2012) that recently surfaced that I think you will like:

The Phenomenon of Choosing a Young Protagonist

How many novels begin with a protagonist who is nineteen or twenty years old? I dare say, most novels. How many books come with the title of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man! Almost every writer deep into advanced maturity, at one point, reaches backward to those early years. What is the fascination for a protagonist who is naive, innocent, inexperienced and completely vulnerable?

Even the mature person who leads a rich, exciting life, full of conquest and achievement, a profoundly interesting life, even that person, is interested in the young life. Why?

Robert Frost explains it in his poem, “The Road not Taken”

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which is written in the past tense—at the end of the road, not at the outset. The traveler looks back, “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

The traveler is ever curious about the other road, the road not taken.

We writers wind up the young protagonist and set him/her upon a road. Then writers and readers alike watch with curiosity, with an adventurous spirit, like voyeurs, wishfully dreaming about the other road. One road is simply not enough.


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


Evelyn's Blog for Jan. 6, 2018 - HOME FROM EASTERN EUROPE

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A trip to Eastern Europe in December is no joke. Weather is a serious matter. Marv and I prepared with silk thermals, layers, coats, jackets, headgear, scarves, gloves. The temperature dropped below zero, stayed there, and it snowed. And someone aboard the ship, it was murmured, had the flu!

The ship was all decked out for Christmas. There were presents from Father Christmas, and one night we were instructed to leave our shoes outside our room to find something inside them in the morning: chocolate treats.

One of the chief attractions to a river cruise is that the passengers are VERY SOCIAL.

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One night, Marv and I were introduced to everyone at a private party of ten people. The names came flurrying at me and I said, “Wait. Please tell me one identifying fact about yourself.” Everyone obliged. Sissy Spruance said the following: “I was the subject of a painting by Andrew Wyeth titled ‘My Young Friend,’ 1970.”

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(81.2x63.5cn Museo Nacional Thyssen-Borremisze, Madrid inv.no.787 (1978.74)

My research showed the following:

The painstaking realism of the painter Andrew Wyeth made him one of the most popular American artists. The present portrait executed in 1970, entitled “My Young Friend,” shows a girl positioned slightly to the left of the composition against the flat background, dressed in a thick cable knit sweater and a raccoon hat. The sitter is Sissy Spruance, a twenty-year stable girl who worked on a ranch near the painter’s home in Brandywine, Pennsylvania. According to Wyeth, the girl had caught his attention when riding. “One day I spotted her riding bareback over the meadow, her braided hair flying and those two long strands falling over her face. She was wearing that raccoon skin hat which I’ve never seen any other girl wear, as if she were an animal, not a human being.”


Another day I found myself seated at a table with two young men, Todd and Ricky, who work in the movie industry. One was a visual editor. I had a question for them, not letting this opportunity go by without asking it. “Do you know of anyone in the industry to whom I could send a copy of one of my novels for films?”

“Yes,” they both answered eagerly. I mentioned that my literary oeuvre treats aspects of love stories, but not romances. When I mentioned CONCERNING GEORGIA STEKKER, both young men jumped for it as the one to send. We’ll see if they can help me.   

Film is such a charged topic that I dipped into my goody bag re visual editing and immediately came up with the following (which will be of interest to you).  “The Grand Elusion” by the great Renoir - La Grande Illusion is regarded by critics and film historians as one of the masterpieces of French cinema and among the greatest films ever madeOrson Welles named La Grande Illusion as one of the two movies he would take with him "on the ark."[4] Empire magazine ranked it #35 in "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" in 2010.

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Notice in this photo: Eric von Stroheim is a German officer so repaired with metal plates that he can’t bend.


I also talked about ‘The Piano” by the anthropologist/filmmaker Jane Campion and starring Holly Hunter as a deaf mute that took place in New Zealand. Campion was the first woman to win the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes. It’s kinky and erotic, but no matter. It’s a masterpiece from the opening scene as the crew of aboriginals unloads a piano on the beach. 

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And now, since my last blog, a final word about the Christmas Markets of Europe:

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They are more like swap meets for selling stocking stuffers.  On Saturday nights, the markets become social hangouts for locals over a glass of mulled wine in the cold air.

There is much to see on such a trip, but the Christmas Markets swallow up people. Tourists sacrifice magnificent scenery for them.

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But I wasn’t seduced. I bought most of the little gifts for our family and friends in the cruise ship gift shop. Tip: in a fine hotel or cruise ship, rely on their gift shops to save footwork.       


In Salzburg, Austria, we ate lunch at the OLDEST restaurant in Europe: St. Peter. (Are you read for this?) Charlemagne ate lunch in St. Peter in 803.

Charlemagne was the First Holy Roman Emperor. Charles the Great (2 April 742 – 28 January 814), numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774 and Emperor of the Romans from 800. He united much of Europe during the early Middle Ages.

Now just try to top that for name dropping.

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We took our tour guide to lunch, and she suggested St. Peter if she could get a reservation. I said, “I have complete faith in you.” She ordered veal cheeks: We had had had it on the ship: fat, soft, and delicious:).  We ordered weinershnitzel (a classic). Order it.

St. Peter was cavernous, cozy, and remarkable

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We arrived home to the Sunday Times article about Sam Shepard: Pulitzer Prize Winner for the play “Buried Child.”

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The article said about him during his last days suffering Lou Gerhig’s disease and still dictating when he could no longer hold a pencil. “He’s a writer, so he needed to write every day to be himself.”

 I understand.

Did I tell you that aboard ship there was a rumor about the flu? Marv and I learned It wasn’t just a rumor.

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Thanks to All of You Who Purchased My Books as Gifts During the Holidays!

If you have not yet read any of my books,
then 2018 is your year to do so!

Happy New Year!

 

Evelyn's Blog for NOV 19, 2017 - RIVER CRUISE ON THE DANUBE

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My husband Marv and I will be river cruising through Eastern Europe in December while you lovely people are holiday shopping in the United States. Our itinerary is as follows: Prague, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Melk, Vienna, and Budapest.  

The cruise is also titled:  CHRISTMAS MARKETS ON THE DANUBE.

I asked: What are the Christmas Markets?

Answer: Christmas Markets are a major attraction for tourists and locals. 

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Repeat visitors talk about the aromas of potato pancakes, gingerbread, cinnamon, and hot glug. 

I want to look at folk art. I promised our formatter to bring her a troll. Her husband is part Norwegian and they display a couple of trolls all year long. I asked her to send me a photo so that I don't bring her trolls she already has.

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There will be lots of Christmas ornaments, hand-carved wooden crafts, candies and pastries. We will stuff some of this in our luggage for holiday gifts.

 

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We will NOT be thinking of you shoppers in the U.S. — bleary-eyed, exhausted, hungry, and cranky.  

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We WILL be thinking about smart people who buy on line.

 She's ordering my books from Amazon to send as gifts.

She's ordering my books from Amazon to send as gifts.

NOTE: Early in 2018, I will be adding two new novels: THE DINNER PARTY and THE PIANO PLAYER.  They are both ready to publish, but I'm holding back. You have enough choices for 2017, don't you think? Until then, Marv and I will be eating turkey, and then sailing. 

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Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon

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Evelyn's Blog for Nov 11, 2017 - MY NOVELS - HOLIDAY GIFTS

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Consider my five novels for wonderful holiday gifts. Some can be ordered both as digital and paperback. Others in only one form. Easy. Fast.

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#1
THE PROVIDER
(2012)
Russian Jewish immigrant novel, 1922 to 1960’s, of a couple seeking the American Dream. She achieves it; he doesn’t. A love story. (2012 International Book Finalist Award for Literary Fiction)


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#2
THE WAY THEY SEE
(2013)
Young couple in love come upon a misconception of each other and go their separate ways into unintended lives for twenty-five years, then meet again.


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#3
CONCERNING GEORGIA STEKKER
(2014)
A cautionary tale of a jilted woman driven to swindling fortune hunters

 

 


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#4
THE ROMANTIC IMPERATIVE (2017)
An analysis of the universal struggle between romanticism and the real world. (2017 International Book Award as Finalist for Literary Fiction)

 


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#5
AN INCIDENT IN THE FAMILY
(2017)
In 1925, an uncle marries his niece (an avunculate marriage) and fathers two daughters: the elder born normal, the younger, vastly retarded (an imbecile). In 1935 during the Great Depression, the father takes the then six-year-old into the garage, closes the door, and starts the engine. (Based on a true story) 

Beginning excerpt published in JewishFiction.net for their once yearly issue, Sept 2017.


Enjoy shopping on my website: EvelynMarshall.com and on Amazon!

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Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


Evelyn's Blog for Nov 4, 2017 - THE END OF A NOVEL

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Before I start writing any novel, I always have a good general idea of the ending.  I don’t  know exactly how I will get there (which is half the fun), and I always meet with surprise upon surprise, but I generally come to the conclusion that isn’t far from what I originally  planned, but it’s more embellished, more complicated. If I am writing correctly, then all the ends tie together.

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But then I wrote AN INCIDENT IN THE FAMILY.  It was an odd duck ...

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... because it presented a beginning situation and I had no idea how it would resolve itself.

After I finished the novel, I said, "Now Evelyn, what have you written?" And what I discovered was enlightening.

I wrote the novel from Tamma’s point of view (POV). But, my favorite character, by far, was Rachel. No one could touch her. She outran everyone for sheer fascination. When I came to the end of the novel, Rachel showed up like the cavalry ...

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... and I saw that it was her novel.  The character Tamma drove the plot forward in her search for answers and a happy life - she was not the main character. Rachel was.

Read the novel for yourself. You'll see how it worked.

 
 

Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon

Evelyn's Blog for Oct 28, 2017 - CANNIBALISM

 Ooh! That hurts!

Ooh! That hurts!

CANNIBALISM in MOBY-DICK

I ran this argument for and against cannibalism in 2014 when I had the old newsletter. The argument is cogent and bears repeating.

Queequeg (the black head-to-toe tattooed pagan harpooner) was observing Ramadan by sitting on the hard floor for days and nights without moving. Ishmael could not budge him. Finally Queequeg came out of it. And Ishmael says [to the reader]:

Now, as I before hinted, I have no objection to any person's religion, be it what it may, so long as that person does not kill or insult any other person, because that other person doesn't believe it also. But when a man's religion becomes really frantic; when it is a positive torment to him; and, in fine, makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in, then I think it high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him. And just so I now did with Queequeg.

"Queequeg," said I, "get into bed now and lie and listen to me." I then went on, beginning with the rise and progress of the primitive religions, and coming down to the various religions of the present time, during which time I labored to show Queequeg that all these Lents, Ramadans, and prolonged ham-squattings in cold, cheerless rooms were stark nonsense; bad for the health; useless for the soul; opposed, in short, to the obvious laws of Hygiene and common sense. I told him, too, that he being in other things such an extremely sensible and sagacious savage, it pained me, very badly pained me, to see him now so deplorably foolish about this ridiculous Ramadan of his. Besides, argued I, fasting makes the body cave in; hence the spirit caves in; and all thoughts born of a fast must necessarily be half-starved. This is the reason why most dyspeptic religionists cherish such melancholy notions about their hereafters. In one word Queequeg, said I, rather digressively; hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling; and since then perpetuated through the hereditary dyspepsias nurtured by Ramadans.

I then asked Queequeg whether he himself was ever troubled with dyspepsia; expressing the idea very plainly, so that he could take it in. He said no; only upon one memorable occasion. It was after a great feast given by his father the king on the gaining of a great battle wherein fifty of the enemy had been killed by about two o'clock in the afternoon, and all cooked and eaten that very evening.

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"No more, Queequeg," said I, shuddering; "that will do;" for I knew the inferences without his further hinting them. I had seen a sailor who had visited that very island, and he told me that it was the custom, when a great battle had been gained there, to barbecue all the slain in the yard or garden of the victor; and then, one by one, they were placed in great wooden trenchers, and garnished round like a pilau, with breadfruit and cocoanuts; and with some parsley in their mouths, were sent round with the victor's complements to all his friends, just as though these presents were so many Christmas turkeys. 

After all, I do not think that my remarks about religion made much impression upon Queegueg. Because, in the first place, he somehow seemed dull of hearing on that important subject, unless considered from his own point of view; and in the second place, he did not more than one third understand me, couch my ideas simply as I would; and, finally, he no doubt thought he knew a good deal more about the true religion than I did. He looked at me with a sort of condescending concern and compassion, as though he thought it a great pity that such a sensible young man should be so hopelessly lost to evangelical pagan piety.

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If your appetite is increasing, then read this cannibal story.

FYI: Concerning Georgia Stekker turns spooky!


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


EVELYN'S BLOG FOR OCT 21, 2017 - SEED FOR A NOVEL

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Where do writers get their ideas?  Jerry Seinfeld was asked that, being a comedian. Felix Unger (“The Odd Couple”) was asked that, being a journalist.

In my last blog (Oct. 14), I mentioned that Henry James was sitting across the dinner table from a father/daughter couple who inspired him to write the novel “Washington Square” that was turned into the film “The Heiress”.

So where did I get my idea to write THE ROMANTIC IMPERATIVE? I’m glad you asked.

Marv and I were in New York, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in the gift shop.

You would agree that museums have fabulous gift shops. I wandered over to a wall covered with postcards showing great paintings. Suddenly my eyes fell on a scene painted by the French painter Edouard Manet, titled “Interior of Arcachon, 1871” (15/1/2 x 21 inches).  The composition was of an old mother and a dilatant son sitting at a table. She was looking out the window, and he was smoking his cigarette and gazing at her. I said to myself, I know these people. They are rich and colorful. I want to write their story. 

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For those of you who have already read the novel THE ROMANTIC IMPERATIVE, you can easily guess that here are Ardita And Dorsey Danzie. For those of you yet to read the novel, you will have this painting in mind. Perfect.

People think that writerly seeds automatically sprout from travels. Not for me, and I’m very much traveled. Travels are respites.  In fact, I never have insomnia on trips. Only when I get home and again think about my project does the insomnia machine revv up.

By the way, here is a review of CONCERNING GEORGIA STEKKER, written on Amazon by  C. Burleson (April 18, 2017):

"From the cover of this book, I didn't quite know what to think this story would hold. I actually truly enjoyed the characters and their interactions, they became real and interesting. This book has an unusual writing style and I loved it. It flows, by the third chapter I was hooked. I also enjoy a book with a very unique story line."

I'll give you the SEED for this novel. Are you ready? I was the girl at the party who was left stranded at the table. 

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I hope C. Burleson subscribes to my blog, just as I hope you recommend the blog site for your friends. (www.EvelynMarshall.com)  

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I so much like hearing  a reader tell me how much she/he is enjoying my blogs.

ALERT:  Here is the first review on Amazon for "Incident in the Family":

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Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


Evelyn's Blog for Oct 14, 2017 - A WRITER'S ANONYMITY

Choose Fame or Anonymity.  Be careful which you choose.

If you are a writer, you will choose anonymity. It gives you space to breathe and think. You can wander the world and observe human behavior. You can isolate yourself and imagine stories. No one gets in your face.

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John le Carre, the master spy writer, hides out in his isolated beach top house.

Henry James (and other famous writers) burned all of his letters and work papers, protecting himself from the “predators”.

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Recently a biographer, James Atlas, wrote an arrogant moralistic book about  Saul Bellow, the Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1976.

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Woah! The biographer should have walked in Bellow's moccasins for three days and then asked himself, Would I have done better in like circumstances? Surprise: Bellow is a human being. 

A biographer serves a good purpose in revealing an author’s themes and sources. But to invade an author’s inner sanctum and pontificate is going too far. 

SOURCES FOR THEMES Outside the self:

Henry James dined out at other people’s homes half the nights of his life. He was a famous raconteur; his monologues were highly anticipated. One night he was at a dinner table sitting opposite a very rich, stern aristocratic father and mild, plain daughter. James, the raconteur, fell silent in observation. Guests  respected his sudden silence; obviously he was observing, taking in, his mind was at work. No one bothered him. But James' inner sanctum was not at work. Here was a gift from the outside world. And James simply wrote it. It became "Washington Square" which became the film "The Heiress" (Olivia de Havilland, Ralph Richardson, and Montgomery Clift).

My most recent book, "An Incident in the Family" was also a gift.

 I simply wrote it and stopped. If you read it knowing that its original title was “Tamma Millerman’s Inheritance”, you will see my mind at work. 

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Evelyn's Blog for Oct 7, 2017 - Writers' Insomnia

Thinking about a novel in progress is so fascinating and complicated, loaded with so many possibilities, that the mind cannot turn off. Consequently, insomnia springs up as an unwelcomed monster. Curses and hot oil on the Black Dragon.

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I start my day with three intense hours of writing. After that, I live a regular day and don't think about the novel in progress.  BUT come bedtime, 

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 i'm back in my own bed, and here comes the Black Dragon. It's an all-nighter. 

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Do you have any idea what it's like to start a new day after being up staring into the darkness for 8 hours? Here is a photo of me after completing THE ROMANTIC IMPERATIVE. 

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And here is a photo of me after writing AN INCIDENT IN THE FAMILY:

 

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About every 3-4 nights, I do get a good night of sleep because my body can't take it any longer.

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So you want to write your novel? Go ahead.

OR, you may want to read one of my short stories, "The Debt,"  about a Jewish man who wants to/and marries a gentile woman (click the button below and enjoy!). This was honored by one of the most prestigious literary journals, Glimmer Train. 

Evelyn's Blog for Sept 30, 2017 - THE SCOOP ABOUT WRITERS' DISCIPLINE!

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My husband Marv and I were attending a theatre performance at our regular favorite theatre (South Coast Repertory).  We have had season tickets for most of our married life.

At intermission, we met up with another couple who are also regulars.  Jim is a retired English teacher.  So of course my opener was as follows:

Ev: “Jim, now that you’re retired, are you writing?”

Jim: “Evelyn, I don’t have the discipline.”’

Ev: “I beg your pardon?”

Jim: “When I was teaching, I was highly disciplined about preparing lesson plans. I had to be or the kids would have eaten me alive. But now, I don’t have to be disciplined, so I’m not. I’m into a lot of volunteer work.”

Ev:  “Teaching fulfilled you.”

Jim: “Yes.”

Ev: “Not until later in life did I find what fulfilled me.  And then, finding it was a fluke.”

Jim: "Still, you have to be disciplined. To get yourself to sit down and write.”

Ev: “I have been writing for thirty years. There is no such thing as discipline for me. I always want to write my fiction. The only thing that temporarily stops me is energy. After three hours of intense writing in the morning, I’m exhausted. I will regain energy in the evening, but then I become too stimulated to sleep. Writing is so fascinating that merely thinking about it has turned me into an insomniac.”

The other day I watched a film about Jackson Pollack’s life. He had no need of disciplne. He always wanted too paint.

I’m certain the same was true for Michelangelo, and the whole gang.

And of course,  A. A. Milne, author of the Winnie the Pooh books.

WRITERS BLOCK? What is it? 

Answer: I think Writers’ Block is NOT an absence of ideas per se, but rather  coming upon an idea that arouses your passion to start the motor and go for the ride.

AN INCIDENT IN THE FAMILY is now on my Amazon site in paperback. Please click to order.

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Evelyn's Blog for Sept 22, 2017 - "INCIDENT" - WHAT ARE ITS CHANCES?

Click the image above to view it larger.

My excerpt from "Incident" was just published this month in JewishFiction.net. Take a look at the setup, and the excerpt. You'll be proud of me. 

My printer, LightningSource, notified me that paperback copies are now available. So I mailed 12 copies to the National Jewish Book Awards contest, ending October 3 - for consideration.

INDULGE me, please: I need to CONFESS something to you. I have written seven novels, a series of short stories, a screenplay, AND I always was mindful of their structure and progression. However, "Incident in the Family" had a mind of its own.  I held onto the novel as to the tail of a racing tiger.  One chapter shot on to the next, I came to the end, and stopped abruptly.  Either it is a WEIRD one-of-a-kind novel, or I have shifted to a new form of novel writing. This latter phenomenom occured with John LeCarre. He wrote one novel very, very fast and said, "It's a once and a lifetime experience."