Time Gone By

I am always amazed at how long goes by before I remember I even have a website! And that it might be a good idea to add to it because evidently people occasionally look at it.

Sun pours through my studio window. I have to go up to the doctor today. Bleck. 

I am at the final stages now of this forever novel. That's how I think of it... the Forever Novel. The one that's taken forever to write. A whole new level of fact-checking has taken me to Linda Greenlaw's books on lobstering and swordfishing. I read, I read, I read. And find inevitable errors in my text. Corrections are simple on one level... fix this. Right. Except that it's the wording, it's always the wording. Getting it right. 

There has been, in this research process, the draft (1960's and '70's), the lottery, Viet Nam, Flying Black Ponies, SEALs, Hueys, Seawolves, Red Sox, more Red Sox, yet more Red Sox, Nixon, Watergate, television in the seventies, advertising on television in the seventies, the Phil Donahue Show, the evolution of the Civil Rights Movement, the evolution of Feminism, AND - Gloucester MA (I will get something wrong no matter how hard I try, this is inevitable), lobster fishing, and the list goes on. I think my bibliography for research on this novel is about 350 books, dozens of video documentaries. At a certain point, I have to let it go. What a terrifying thought!!!!

So... I am going to try to remember to update this site more than once a year!!!!! HAH! We'll see.

Why Silence Is So Much Easier...

Silence is the habitat of the writer.  The inner silence where one listens for the words, for the speakers of the words... the characters; silence where one sits, fingers above the keyboard, hovering, attending to the very silence itself and its myriad revelations, its images that flicker and dance like screen images; images that emerge from shadowy depths as from a dream.

One must be attentive to the silence, letting it grow and move and expand until it opens of its own accord. In the center of that word, "attentive," is tent.  One is tented by the silence. Beyond the tent, towering pines, mist, the smell of dark earth and ferns, the sound of slow water dripping from high branches. This is how the writing happens.  This is how it emerges.

To put it out there into the world in any form is breaking the silence.  Within the silence is the sound - roar and pulse and beat and breath.  Beyond the silence, on the other side of the silence, lies the expectation of others, the need of others, the desire of others. The great gift is when we can give to the reader something they never expected, something they didn't know they needed, never imagined they wanted.  

There is no reading without writing.  That sounds so simple, so obvious.  But when I am reading I am entering the silence of printed word on page, be it paper or electronic, it doesn't matter.  I enter the silence and as the reader I listen until I hear the characters' voices. I watch until I see what the writer is revealing to me.  A stand of pines, a meadow, a long split-rail fence, a farmhouse abandoned, its porch tilting in on itself. And overhead the harsh caw of the crow, the drone of a distant jet, and somewhere, down a hill, by the unseen stream, the strange song of spring frogs and children laughing.

The Untitled Novel Has a Title!

I wrote: I remain unwilling to give it a title although it is essentially entirely written and in final draft stage.  The edit now is the line edit, but also the research edit, the fact-checking edit, correction upon correction.  And cut, cut, cut. Most of the hard work is done and yet there is so much more to do. I post here about my work on the characters, and I am struck by the oddity of the word "post" - it assumes a reader, somewhere.  The novel so far only has select readers, or I should say selected, carefully selected. I write about it here I suppose mostly as a way of driving myself forward. As for readers here, of these posts, that idea makes me smile. It is not the point. I am here talking to myself about my work. I open the door for eavesdroppers. Anyone can listen in. My conversation with myself.  The process. How the writing gets written.  How the work gets done. One keystroke at a time.

When I wrote that, there was no title. I tried dozens. There is one now! YAY! 

Kimball

I spent the longest on him, almost two years of research and reading.  I still don't know him.  I still don't understand him, and yet I trust him completely. There is a truth to his character.  He has a morality specifically his own. I do not question him. He teaches me more than any of the others the mystery of writing, the mystery of fiction, the mystery of the characters we want to believe we create but who in fact in some way, at least for me, come to us. I have to accept I will always only know a part of his story.

Finding Cleo

Today I order films on Alice Walker, June Jordan, Audre Lorde.  Books on the Gay LA scene and lesbian feminists arrive in the mail. I read anthologies of the writings from Amazon Quarterly remembering how I lived for each quarterly to arrive in the mail back in the early '70's, devoured them. To know Cleo, to understand Cleo, I need to know what she embraced, what she rejected. To know Cleo I need to understand the world in which she grew up, the world she left, the world she lives in when we meet her in the novel.