Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

galley hangover blues

i just completed editing the advance review copy galley proofs of my first novel.

it only took one cup of tea, six pots of coffee, two shots of maker’s mark whiskey, a quarter-of-a-bottle of bailey’s irish cream, and a single large bottle of very, very bad merlot.

the morning after, i ponder the fate of my first novel basking in the glory of wicked awesome publication. also, and more so, i ponder the fate of my second novel, whilst little gremlins swim in my stomach acids and play loud rap music that booms in my ears.

NEVER KNEW ANOTHER, (and her two sequels), have been sleeping on my hard drive for over a year (admittedly, the third of the trilogy is not quite good enough, yet, and I’m still revising it, but i know what i am capable of and this book is on the path of goodness and few will be unmoved in the many betrayals at the final guard tower).

circumstances have never seemed to favor these three unlucky children of demons. i pulled open the book this morning, and started reading with the galley proofs of LAST DRAGON (a book that sold and is quite good, if I may say so myself…) ringing in my ears.

LAST DRAGON is anti-epic. I took a plot line of some massive ten book fantasy exercise in gratuitousness. Then, I chopped it up with scissors to locate exactly – exactly – how to cram the whole thing into one short novel using poetry, impressionistic writing, careful scene selections, and literary techniques. (what would THE LORD OF THE RINGS be like if it were inspired by surrealists, and it was only four hundred pages long?)

my second novel, NEVER KNEW ANOTHER, was inspired by my struggles in very real poverty in post-enron houston, just after I graduated from college. i wanted to use my newly developed dense, impressionistic, anti-epic fantasy style to give people the emotional color that i had felt down there.

in this sleeping book of mine, my characters are too busy trying to survive, thrive, and find happiness to overthrow governments or discover magical treasure or any of that epic nonsense. in this epic fantasy world, and especially for social outcasts and the working poor, it takes heroics just to lead a normal life.

but, alas, where shall i find a home for my sleeping book? my agent works on it, i know, and i trust him very much. but still, this impotence: i must sit on my hands and let someone else take my baby belle to the ball and introduce her to all the lovely suitors there. not pleasant at all. not in the slightest.

as gloriously happy as i am about my first novel, I feel fear like the ashy lining of a silver cloud. when will my next book find a home? when will I get to do wicked awesome advance review copy galley proofs again?

this little moment of thinking into my virtual megaphone about things that swim up to the top of hangovers is only a prelude to this universal truth. this, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth at the heart of charles bukowski’s poem “born into this”.

i hope i don’t drink myself into the footnotes of that particular poem.

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