Finished Papa’s Trial: Hemingway in the Afterlife, after a long gestation. Originally wrote a version, decided I didn’t like it, started rewriting an expanded and more intricate version, abandoned it. There it sat until recently. Upon finishing Dark Fire, my third novel, I decided Papa’s Trial should be my fourth. More work to do, of course. Probably another draft before I am satisfied, but still, progress!
LETTERS AT 3AM –
NOTES ON A LONG, LONG JOURNEY
Austin Chronicle – January 11, 2013
The Dragon is a novel almost five years in the works. It may take another five. I keep a Dragon journal. Here are entries from this year.
May 4. I cling, as a novelist, to what Orson Welles said: “Who needs plot? But who can live without a story?” And I cling to what John [Cassavetes] told me: “In replacing narrative, you need an idea.”
The narrator, Angelo Chiari, is a news reporter in his fifties, comes to a Monroe-like program as a skeptic. In the course of the week, a lot of things open up for him – or perhaps we should say, he opens up to things, as various experiences present opportunities. As for instance on Tuesday night, when Angelo is confronted with the onset of an asthma attack, without his accustomed way to hold it at bay. This is from Chapter Four.
Saw the movie today. Won’t say much about it, lest I spoil your experience, but I will say that the kid who plays James T. Kirk as a young man is going to have a big career. He has that certain something — the sort of appeal shared by actors as diverse as Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Harrison Ford. Many of the actors were good, especially the two who played McCoy and Scott, but the one who played Kirk really stood out.
Of course, Hollywood being Hollywood, they had to hoke things up and come up with an ending (the coda, really) that was not believable, whereas they could easily have come up with one that was. But they always have their eye on the teenage consumer, so it is too much to ask that they consider grown up sensibilities as well. We’re lucky when it is as good as this one was. I did enjoy it.
Richard Bach, the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Illusions, etc., who became a friend of mine a few years ago, sent me a series of emails as he was reading Babe in the Woods, and he is very generously allowing me to quote them here. Some excerpts:
“I’ve begun reading at last, and have to tell you again what a pleasure is your writing! You catch me on paragraph one, have me fascinated and at the same time at ease with that homey comfortable style of yours….”
It is always a delicate balance, like breathing. You can’t always be breathing out, you can’t always be breathing in. If the two halves of the rhythm don’t alternate smoothly, you’ve got problems. Similarly, you’ve got to keep a balance between absorbing new material (whether by reading or other experience) and expressing what you know. At least, that’s my experience.
When I began this blog in another format in March 2007, the result of a kind and perceptive suggestion from a friend who pointed out that I was already blogging, in essence, in the amount of material I was sending out to my friends via e-mail, at first the material poured out. Already I have hundreds of pieces blogged, and potential hundreds more, because I read a lot, think a lot, talk to myself pretty continuously, and keep a journal as I have done since I was 20. That makes for a lot of material.
…than somebody really getting it?
Babe in the Woods is being offered on Amazon and in other places by Doyle Whiteaker, a friend from one of the Monroe Institute-oriented email groups. He requested that a friend of his read it, and he sent me her review, which follows: