Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Starting to settle into a routine, which scares me a little because I don't generally do well with routines. The bulk of the day isn't interesting but the eat dinner, listen to the news, mix a godfather and start writing kind of is. It's comfortable. That's weird.

So, to break it up because that's what I compulsively do, I'm jumping out of a bad (read: slow, distracted, flat) writing night to drop this post instead. Could be I go back to it. I dunno.

Drood by Dan Simmons
Privacy is one of those things on which I've always placed a high value. Maybe that's already clear in my whining about my taboos for a year on this blog. There are other lines around that, having to do with where my privacy and that of my friends and family stops. One of my favorite novels ever is called Drood by Dan Simmons, written from the first-person POV of Charles Dickens's friend and novelist Wilkie Collins. If you know your Dickens (and far be it from me to fault you if you don't), you'll recognize the reference to his unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In Simmons's book, Drood is a phantom Dickens encounters in the aftermath of a train wreck, but goes on to haunt Collins right up to and possibly beyond the point of Dickens's death. Obviously there's more to it than that, and I gotta say it's a hell of a book worth not spoiling here.

I bring it up because a lot of it centers on Collins's jealousy of Dickens, both his mastery and what he sees as the price everyone closest to him (Dickens) pays, both in public shame and private degradation. I don't know the subjects well enough to tell how fair this is to Dickens or Collins, but it does raise some interesting questions I've seen raised around other authors, songwriters, artists and the like. I understand and, to a degree, endorse exposing one's own flaws, fears, hopes, et cetera -- vulnerabilities, in other words. On the other hand, there comes a point where it's tempting to draw on personalities around you for truer color in whatever you're doing. I never used to do that, but I'm undeniably doing it now in NWB.

But there are lines, and I hesitate to cross those that don't belong to me. As more and more of the story comes into focus, it feels more likely that people reading it might infer things, might wonder What I Was Trying To Say. I like a non-committal approach to that question: Everybody is free to make of it what they will.

Inevitably though, I know once people begin to infer, they don't slow down. It turns into an interpretative game of Whack-A-Mole. I only care about this in those closest to me, not least because there are so very few. So let me say this, pre-emptively (and probably inconsequentially): I'm not talking about any specific person here or in anything I've done. Nobody in the story is anybody I know. More importantly, I'm drawing on people I don't know every bit as much as people I do. So, as usual, I'm just being my over-analytical, under-observant self, and I'm doing it with a shopping cart.

Whew. So much better. I know that likely serves nobody in the world but me, but it's been on my mind. For anybody still with me and inexplicably still interested, as of this writing I've got a shade under 113,000 words into the book. Not a blistering pace from my last post on the 4th, but pretty good compared to the few months before. I'm trying to make that better. It's eating at me every day: I want to get this done. I need to get it done. I'm still shooting for a January release (that's if I send it out for editing and publish through CreateSpace), so I think I have until about September to finish it and do the rewrite. That's tight but I don't think I can handle it taking much longer.

Anyway, it's a beautiful night. Right about 67 degrees, no wind, a little rogue thunderstorm putting on a show to the southwest. My neighborhood is silent and I'm on my balcony with my laptop with about one small sip left of that godfather I mixed. Whether the book is going good or bad, no matter what's happening at work, moments like this, putting something into words (again, good or bad) are just the best. I hope it all comes to something soon.

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