May 12, 1853
My Dearest Belinda;
Progress on my novel is advancing slower than I expected. I realize I told you that getting away to a cabin in the woods would allow me to focus on writing, and it has. But I have also discovered that the woods can have its own distractions.
I saw a bear yesterday. Fear not, I was safely in the cabin as he wandered by. But I did spend considerable time looking out the window before I was brave enough to use the outhouse again.
The creature made off with one of my shirts, which I had left outside after fishing. I am not sure whether it was the smell of fish on my shirt that attracted him or the smell of strawberry jam. Nonetheless, I am one shirt lighter than when I arrived.
By the way, did you know that trout are particularly fond of strawberry jam? They are. I caught several by placing chunks of bread coated with strawberry jam on fishing hooks.
I met a man while I was walking around the pond for inspiration. I find walking often leads to thinking, which is essential when you are writing a novel. This chap is also a writer. He is writing about a book about the pond. Can you imagine? Who would buy such a book? I will stick to novels.
As we were conversing, he invited me to play cards with him at his cabin. I was reluctant, but I felt it rude to refuse, so we spent the afternoon playing various games of cards. He invited me back tomorrow to play chess.
Back to my novel update. After two months of writing about a family in New York City, you can probably imagine my surprise when the thought entered my head that the novel should be set in the west.
Think of the possibilities. The wildness of the west will add considerable excitement to my novel. I am sure of it. Of course, it will require extensive re-writing. But I am convinced it will be worth the effort.
Speaking of work, I should get back to it. Please give the children my love. I miss them and you dearly. But this novel is vital to our futures. I must persist.
You loving husband,