Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Beginning of the End

           Turned in the manuscript for the next book to Rebel Satori on Thursday. I know I sound maudlin or something when I say it, but saying goodbye to Jacob Connor after 12 years or so thinking about him is powerful. I’m not weeping in the streets, but it is sobering. I don’t think I fully feel it, yet, to be honest. I think when I’m finally looking at the finished book in my hand is when I’ll finally know that the journey that started because of severe insomnia all those years ago in a tiny dorm room in Alabama is now over.
           Final wordcount was about 66K, so about the same size as …Ganymede, if that kind of thing matters. A return to a more experimental structure as opposed to …Orpheus, which was told in a much more linear/straightforward manner. I had excellent advice from my readers, which I followed in almost all cases. There was one MAJOR structural change that was suggested, and it was a good suggestion, but making that change would have altered one of the thematic underpinnings. So, I opted for to keep the structure and not take what was really great advice. We’ll see how that decision turns out.
            We both agree that summer of next year works as a publication goal to shoot for.
            This is the last book I’m contracted for to Rebel. It’s going to feel odd to be back out on the streets, knocking on doors, so to speak. Exciting in a way, too.
            Spending a lot of time reading William S. Burroughs’ letters from the early 50s. 

Really fascinating stuff. And yes, I know, most people don’t approve of my interest in him or other authors (like Dennis Cooper) who seem to have, shall we say, less than conventional ideas about ethics. I feel like this, though—I’m uninterested in the ethics of an artist. I find it interesting. Conversations about ethics bore me, especially if used as ad hominem attacks on artists. So what if Dennis Cooper is eventually found to be a pedophile and a cannibal?* The question I have in return to all those who want to moralize about artists is this: how many Michael Jackson songs do you have on your ipod/phone right now?
            If there is anything more uninteresting than a conversation about ethics or morality, I have yet to find it, especially if that conversation is about the morality or ethics of an author. 
            At any rate, what I’m liking most about the letters is to watch his movement from ultraconservative trustfund self-hating closeted gay farmer to openly queer eastern-philosophy-oriented author exploring paranoia to its fullest extent. It gives me hope that people can change that much in a single 10 year period. This is a shift for me, too, because reading biographical material about authors or musicians that I like is a very new thing. A thing I like, though, and will continue doing (as we speak, Ginsberg’s early journals are winding their way toward my mailbox). 

*= to be clear, he isn't either of those things, but he works in a realm of storytelling where people often forget that distance, sometimes a great deal of distance, exists between author and narrator. I does not always equal I. 

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