Sunday, March 19, 2006

Chapter 29 - Cold Water and Oil Lamplight

Even though we must heat our water with the propane burner to bathe and read by flashlight and oil lamp our new home has been sweet as a five star hotel. Last night we ate our black beans and rice and worked for awhile on cuff bracelets since one has already sold on Ruby Lane. We were happy listening to Garrison Keillor, a rerun of a 2004 show in Nashville featuring BR549 and Allison Krause. I had just finished the new installment of Brown Dog ("The Summer He Didn't Die") by Michigan writer Jim Harrison and realized I must send him a letter since he has had my novel for nearly 2 years and our address and email and phone number on the thing haven't been current for over 8 months. J gave it to him at a reading in Manhattan and he said he would give it a look but it would "be awhwile"...

We feel we are closer than ever to being able to travel with impunity to far places and not have to be totally dependent on craft fairs and farmer's markets and fleas. J sitting beside me here in the Coffee Underground reading "Everything is Illuminated" by Jon Foer, the boy wonder of eight or ten years ago who took New York publishing industry by storm after Joyce Carol Oates discovered his talent in a writiing class she was teaching. J likes it mostly but said a curious thing this morning: "It's like a wonderful sweet thing you've just tasted for the first time, but after about page 80 you begin to want some meat..."

Hard to believe anyone can write a book at 21 though. I think of my writing of this time period and am glad most of it was lost through my many migrations.

I wonder if irony has passed out of the literary lexicon so soon, remembering a fairly recent rejection I got from one of Dave Egger's crew on a short short I had sent his McSweeney's ether rag. Something to the effect that it wasn't ironic enough and was too strange for them, although the reader said he like it. In itself an irony it seems, that you could actually like something but not send it on to the higher ups.

Oh well. The lit'rary life is rife with riddle and not a lot of it can ever be sorted out until long after we are all long gone. Will my first novel ever get published? - much less last through time, only a few people holding the puppet strings of taste and profit can determine that on a short term timeline and unless it is turned into a graphic novel or a movie long term respect and readability is doubtful even for some of the masters. Which reminds me of the other day in the library, J bringing me "The Moon and Sixpence" by Somerset Maugham, whose yellowing card check-out date we stared at in silent amazement: 1972.

This intrigued me about readership of the area so I did my standard library quality check, heading first for the B section of fiction. Not a drop of Bukowski. Not a good sign. So then I tried Behan thinking it might be a fluke. Nothing. No Burroughs either. I stopped there realizing beyond the beautiful interior and exterior of the place some censoring puppet hands were at play in the wings. With a solid readership this would not have been allowed and I remember in my way younger days getting involved with a few librarians over their author choice...when certain authors were nearly important as food. Spiritual food being neccessary to actually finding the courage to go get the corporeal stuff.


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