40 pages to go on the first draft of the novel…It sounds like a lot but it’s really not, as long as the A to Z regimen (Ativan-Zoloft) holds out and I don’t have to make a co-pay on the next round of refills. (Kidding of course on the alphabet; it’s actually Albariño-Zinfandel….)
Cash is in limited supply these days, so much so I’ve taken to hoarding, which should make Suze Orman happy. Fortunately I haven’t had to resort to scouring the folds of sofas and rifling through dirty laundry for loose change like I used to do when I first arrived in this Gomorrah of a place. Fig newtons and the occasional indulgent latte from Tully’s will suffice for now.
I write not because I enjoy it but because I have to. When writing is in your blood it’s inescapable. It’s as urgent as the lust to hurl oneself from an airplane without a parachute in order to fly, and probably about as sensible.
If I were to classify my current novel, I suppose it would fall under the category of literary fiction. Decades ago I tried writing Harlequin romances and assorted cheap smut for a buck but my heart wasn’t into it and so I chose the proverbial high road. (I must have been high.) This current novel is good. Contrast that with the first one, which I finished 12 years ago. It is unpublished and will forever remain that way: when I’ve mined all the good lines I’ll burn the manuscript.
In publishing terms, to say that this one is good means that probably only twelve people will buy it and six will read it all the way through—not counting myself, my agent, the editor and one demented critic.
Nevertheless I remain hopeful that my pessimism will be repudiated. After all, without hope we are all just minions of the Church, the Market and the State, lugging their nefarious burdens on our backs while the red-robed descendants of Jesus dance in arcane circles and the politicians and marketeers applaud their clever means .
Things are vastly better now, 20 years later than when I landed in Sodom by the Sea. Measurably different. So much so, to paraphrase Hugo, that “the past is like somebody else’s memories.”
Life has become an exponential variation on itself; it is much and more than it ever used to be, somehow meeting its hidden promises but still managing to surprise at every turn. The surprise is part of the sustenance—it feeds the hungry. That counts for a lot in these days of exponentially diminishing returns.
Here, a glimpse of the life-giving scourge: