Wherein the Author explains his return to
dry-marker exhibitionism in four tentative acts . . .
Can't you hear me talkin' to you
I'm callin' you one more time
All night operator, dial me a better line
--Bryan Ferry, "All Night Operator"
My mind is an antique room
There's overstuffed chairs and carpets too
Where nobody ever comes
It's a good place to run away from
And I'm runnin' from a love
With every step I take
And if I can fall for you then
From the last one I am saved
And it's a cold, grey, wet December
Shitty, shitty day
And I'm waitin' for another friend
Calling long distance again . . .
--Iggy Pop, "Long Distance"
Tap-Tap. Is this on? Testing . . . Testing . . . Can you hear me back there? How about over at the edge of The InterWeb? Give a wave if you can hear . . . Someone bring up the lights. Okay, a show of hands one more time . . . Good. Then let's get started . . .
Welcome back, friends, to the show that just won't end (though not for a lack of trying). However, don't expect too much--I'm still getting my cyber-legs back. The whole speed-lashed, one-draft-only, improvisational dictate of this place is so not what I've been doing for the past year. Which, on reflection, is probably one of the reasons I've wandered back here: A need to blow-out my screedy carburetor; to sporadically step back from the cooly meticulous prose I've been distilling during the past 12 months. To let 'er rip and wail strange music in the online equivalent of an after-hours club. Thankfully, the odd wisdom of Jim Steinman remains carved above the virtual entrance: Everything Is Permitted. (Speaking of which, did you catch what I did up there? Screedy. After so long, minting recombinant words with impunity feels so good.)
My book is in its Power Plant Reactor Phase--that unavoidable stage in any piece of writing. Go ahead and call it revision, but it's more like carefully adjusting nuclear fission control rods. At this juncture, the price of larking about with the novel is narrative meltdown--or worse. I've been working at an insanely granular level: Worrying about a word's syllabic stress in the context of its entire paragraph has sadly become business-as-usual.
What began with more creativity than craft (witness the early-draft excerpts originally posted here), has inevitably become a surgical exercise. Could it have evolved in any other way? Initially there were What and Why; now it's all about the How. I'm long past those heady moments where I surprised myself; where a character might suddenly say or do something that made me catch my breath. And, too, the swirling motivations and themes have all been neatly isolated and duly mapped. These days what happens is less problematic than how it occurs. But the real difficulty is that once again I'd like to be astonished . . .
But evolutionary arcs aside, How has also moved to fore because I'm an unapologetic structuralist. French culture is not my favorite by any stretch, but somehow Franco-Structuralism slipped into my Irish / Hungarian DNA. I can only imagine the genetic bouncer at Club Sheridan must have been momentarily distracted.