Some Orts

-i-

I have yet another morning postmortem report.

Not only did this one hit me while brushing my teeth… it came back with friends while I was driving to work this morning (these two, when combined with showering, are my top three idea moments outside of actual writing).

It all goes back to the fact that for years I have wanted to write a novel about sex. Not the kind of book with excessive descriptions of acts that require a pair of contortionists and suspension of both disbelief and the laws of gravity. I wanted human sexuality to be the driving undercurrent throughout the book, making it a kind of survey of different attitudes toward the subject.

For a while, this novel was going to be the second of a trilogy of books set in a fictional county in Wyoming (the first book in this series was The Mushroom Shift, which is still in the closet under a pair of old bowling shoes, and in a way is still one of my best novels… but I digress). Since coming back to work on it, however, I realized that And/News, was now that project. And it really fits. Consider the opening scene; Richard, a cable TV personality on the run from a bad relationship, pulls into a gas station at a barren crossroads in Texas, finds a bar inside, and hits on a woman, K, who is pumping quarters into a jukebox. It was meant to be.

Last night’s connection with K set off a chain reaction. My subconscious really cooked this stuff overnight, and this morning between the tooth brushing and the commute to work even more pieces fell from the heavens that filled in huge blank spaces in the canvas that I’m working on. Now I really know K based on yesterday’s research, and now I see them, and many of the minor players as well, in the big picture of human sexuality.

Man, this book is going to work. It’s really going to work.

I even had a character breakthrough with Richard last night, even though I won’t get to act on it until later in the manuscript.

Which brings me to a big problem I have right now. I have talked about chestbuster stage, when I find out that a book wants to be written… usually about the time that I’m finishing up my current project. It seems I have reached that point again with And/News. It’s not quite the same as chestbuster stage, though. I now feel that I want to do nothing but be home and write the back half of the book, and that I could do it in a weekend if I could just be left alone. I don’t recall this happening before… so I’ll call this stage Critical Mass.

It fits. I’m ready. And like all writers, the only thing I need now is time.

– ii –

I’m going to be typing all lunch hour, looks like. My agent called to inform me that AST, the Moscow publisher doing the Russian language editions of the Angel’s Luck books, just made an offer on the Pembroke Hall novels. Very cool.

There’s not much money involved, but it’s very cool to get those foreign language editions. It also adds to the delicious irony that Ferman and Boddekker, my all-time worst-selling novels, are also my all-time best money makers. Most of it is due to the failed movie deal, but this makes that total a little harder to beat. Plus, I think these two books will teach the Russians some really interesting lessons about Capitalism.

-iii-

I might as well say in advance that there’ll be no writing report tonight. I’m going to a high school production of Oklahoma, starring one of my nephews as an extra.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to sit through it. Oklahoma was my Dad’s favorite musical. Fact be known, he hated musicals, but he loved Oklahoma. Maybe because he was born there?

A couple of years ago I rented the movie to watch; I hadn’t seen it or listened to the music since Dad died. I put it on and burst into tears as soon as Gordon McCrea sang the first lines of Oh, What A Beautiful Morning. So I turned it off and haven’t tried to watch or listen to it since.

Maybe this is TMI, but I felt like I had to get this down. Dad’s been on my mind a lot lately, what with Veteran’s Day and all.

NP – Peter Gabriel, Up

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