Friday, June 17, 2005

I have enjoyed a week "un-plugged"...No typing, no blogging, no internet searches on the 1001 ways to improve my life and explore the universe (albeit, electronically). Steady work on the "novel-in-progress"--I have finally gotten the one wayward character on the verge of homecoming and reunion. But, a death still nags at me. There are unavoidable conclusions I have struggled away from for the (almost) year of work on this piece. I am superstitious and cagey about "the process" though it isn't magical or ephemeral, it's just work. I still don't like talking about anything until I can bold face in those words:

When people ask what the book is about, I fall back on the steady--but boring-- "It's a work of fiction" (I am too non-committal to say novel), "about a mother and her two just, sort of, follows the trajectory of their lives." (I am hoping at this point, they notice my anxiety and/or are impressed by my use of trajectory in a sentence. If this fails, I just call out, "OH, LOOK...they've brought out more salsa/rum/insert-distraction-of-choice!" and make a break for it). This doesn't mean I don't like talking about the writing process itself. If anyone out there actually has to talk to me for more than ten minutes, it will likely come up. I am always flattered when people ask about "the book"...I am always ready to talk about the mountains of Taos and how the limitlessness of time there sinks my pen below the page to the flesh beneath...I'll discuss the rigors of publication--I feel that expressing myself about this writing craft is as essential to me as telling you about my children.

As for the plot of the novel itself, well...I wrote a character completely out of existence a couple of months ago, so anything can (and will) still be changed. As for the technical aspects of the sale of the book itself...when asked, I tell people that I have several publishing houses waiting for its scheduled fall completion, but the contracts have not yet been signed. They could offer me great things, these companies--or they could hate the end result. What I do have at this point five of (when most of us never get the chance to have one), is editors who are actually affiliated with publishers (mostly small-press, but two mid/big-daddies) who email me regularly and, in spite of this, still want my work. They have read whole sections and are pressing me for a final product before 2006. When there are countless writers out there with such lyrical voices, writers I love, who cannot get a book read right now, much less sold...I count my blessings every single day, and I do NOT want to "jinx" them.

So, knocking on wood...throwing salt over my left shoulder...closing my cupboards tight to discourage negative gossip, I sign this: the end. I'm off to spend the big $40 check I earned for poetry sold to MotherTongue Ink. Next year, you can find my poem "Wildflowers" not only in their incredibly lovely datebook--but on their wall calendar now, as well. Anyone up for some pizza and beer? Forty bucks won't take me too far, I know...but, I can feed myself with poetry this week--how about you?


Blogger davem said...

Nah, don't think that I'll be feeding myself with poetry this week. If that were the case I'd be a much skinnier man. I'm glad to hear about the progression of your NOVEL. Hopefully you can remember your lil' bro when your name is in lights... or at least in print. I think I'll be seeing you soon so maybe you can spend some of that $40 on me. Beer and pizza always works.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

You can feed me with the money from your constant raises, Mr. Employee-of-the-month...I love your comments!

8:36 PM  

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