Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I went through what I have of POS and put it into a single book to get a better idea. I've written 24 chapters over 307 pages in 69,048 words, total, since the beginning of November.And I have a fair idea of what else the book needs, now. I listed each chapter done, segregating them to their own sections, and see where the final section -- Brendan's return to Londonderry after years in Houston -- is the most in need, followed by the initial part of the book before he leaves the country and then the Houston bit. So I'm thinking 500 pages and 35-40K left to write in words. I'm also 99% sure the rewrite, when I finally get to it, will make the book longer by a good 20%. These are all just gut feelings...but I doubt I'll be far off. That'll make it a little bit longer than "Bobby Carapisi."

I heard a passage read from the new Nobel Laureate for Literature's book and the man who read it was also critiquing it. The language of that passage was very...I dunno...self-consciously worked to sound a bit like poetry, using imagery and symbolism to describe a sunset in a village (something like "the evening light drowned itself in the town square" or such; I'm not being exact here). And he loved it. Waxed eloquently about the author's command of language and incisive descriptiveness. I mean, this guy thought it was great that he could only read a couple of paragraphs before putting the book down to wonder at the lovely grammar. But to me, anything that takes me out of the book and into appreciating the beauty of the language removes my connection with the story or characters who form the story. And that's not literature, to me. That's self-aggrandizement. But apparently I'm in the minority on this; Nobels for literature are given for a body of work, not a single volume, and it looks like I'll never get one...because I can't write that kind of crap.

Reminds me of this short story class I took at UT when I was doing my Master's. It was taught by a published poet and his attitude was, "If you can't write poetry, you can't write." The first thing I did was write a poem about a boy dreaming of composing a symphony as he's taking out the garbage. He wouldn't even discuss it in class, and I wound up with a B, overall, simply because I was experimenting with my short stories to such an extent, he had to give me that. But he NEVER liked the poetry I had to write because I refused to take it seriously. I think my second poem was some sort of Haiku about sculling across a still pond or something; it's been a few years.

But then again, I also wrote a brutal tone poem about a couple being mugged and shot, something that had just happened to some friends of mine, and did it all in one maybe he thought I was a budding Charles Whitman and bout to run up to the top of the clock tower and shoot everybody I saw, and the B was his way of placating me. It's possible.

Tomorrow, mom has a sonogram. That'll take the whole morning and some of the afternoon.

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