Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I have some new things:
--“Broken Treaty” a tiny poem I wrote with David Tomaloff up at Twenty20 Journal
--“Boating Lessons” at Apocrypha and Abstractions
--And an Interview, plus five stories at Connotation Press
All of them are here under “Words In Print”

...On the drive home from Walla Walla, I read Tom Rachman's stellar novel, "The Imperfectionists." (You'll find some terrific excerpts at the bottom of this post.) When I first read them, I thought the reviews were a little over-the-top and exaggerated, as when the powers that be hop in and deem some only-slightly deserving book mammoth critical acclaim--"Spectacular!" The NY Times--"Magnificent!" The Seattle Times-- "Masterful!" The Philadelphia Inquirer--"Beguiling!" The Washington Post-- but, hey, this book was pretty brilliant. Set in the world of publishing (which would seem like a snore), Rachman deftly introduces dozens of idiosyncratic characters that are flawed and entirely loveable. You’ll end up rooting for them all. Or so I did.

…I make lists. I check things off. I like checking items off. It gives me this placebo sense of accomplishment. I never get all the way through the list though, so either I make them too long, or else I’m not nearly as productive as I should be.

…Last night around sunset I looked out at the lake and there was a man swimming across it, length-wise. That’s quite a feat. It was a beautiful sight. His movements were very fluid and clearly he knew what he was doing. Watching him was hypnotic, like staring at a fire.

…Holy crap. Today is the start of the new novel. I'm giving myself a minimum daily word count of 3,000. That's 3,000 words EVERYDAY but Saturday and Sunday.
I'm excited.
I'm nervous.
Just need willpower and blinders and maybe a happy word or two from you that this is a good road for me to walk.
I’ve got a rough outline done. I’ve got a corkboard full of photographs and scraps connected to the characters. I’m ready to go.

…I like these things on a Wednesday, on the first day of the happy month of June:

--"Absence diminishes commonplace passions and enhances great ones." French Proverb

--"No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man." Heraclitus

--"Why do you kiss someone? To give pleasure or to take pleasure?"
--"We gore each other and mutilate ourselves for victory and fame, as if these might swindle mortality and extend us somehow."
--"Death is misunderstood. The loss of one's life is not the greatest loss. It is no loss at all."
--"If life has taught us anything at all, it is that men with mustaches must never achieve positions of power."
--"Who said I was short? I'm a minimalist."
--"Everything intelligent is conditional." -- "The Imperfectionists," by Tom Rachman

--"Poetry is the blood-jet. There is no stopping it." Sylvia Plath

--"Being a writer allows me to edit myself into someone resembling an intelligent person." Kurt Vonnegut

--"Perfection is terrible, it cannot have children." Sylvia Plath

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