Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This is the sound of a man editing.

I am planning, over the next three days, to do nothing but eat fried chicken and edit. For I, my friends, am writing a novel.

People get this look on their face, some of them anyway, when you tell them you're writing a novel. Like you've told them you still live with your parents.

At all times, the novelist must be vigilant against the feeling that everything s/he thinks and feels and says and does is shit.

I'm through the first stage of editing, which is, quite simply, Asking Questions. The second, and more synonymous with tooth-pulling, is answering all those Questions, which can be as specific as "Rework introduction to M here?" or as general as "trite?" "redundant sentiment?" etc. These are more pernicious questions to fathom.

So, by way of a statement of purpose, three posts in, let me say that this blog will be a place for me to spin off ideas which don't readily have a place in what I'm working on now, especially ones (see my Inagural Post) which reflect my life-long love of science fiction.


Short story snippet

On the day the umbrellas rained down on the lower east side of Manhattan, Norma da Vinci's father died. High above the earth in a chartered Cessna, flying quite illegally, the once-legendary performance artist Roman Montigue released his payload of one thousand black umbrellas. Each one had a switch, designed by a friend of Montigue's to activate remotely and deploy the umbrella, the idea being then that they would float gently down on the crosswinds between skyscrapers and tenament buildings, landing finally in the river. For a few moments that day, the umbrellas fell slowly down on Manhattan island like great, black dandelion seeds while Montigue's position was reported by the FAA and the Air Force was mobilized. The whole city stopped as people went to their windows, stopped their cars & looked upward at a thousand black shadows drifting on the wind.
The umbrellas failed to be carried all the way to the river. Most of them landed in the streets or on rooftops. One woman, an eighty-year old Spanish immigrant named Perla Ayala--caught an umbrella as it drifted by the window of her apartment. Chaos erupted in snatches on the streets below.
As it happened, the one-thousand-and-first umbrella's call-switch failed and it sliced downward ahead of its sisters, silent and invisible, landing directly on Walter da Vinci's head. A moment later someone called the police. Two moments later the call-switch activated, and the umbrella deployed, making the extraction of the thing impossible. Norma tried hard not to imagine her father's body as if Looney Tunes physics applied to it, but sometimes she couldn't help it.
Roman Montigue was tried and convicted for manslaughter and terrorism. At their lawyer's advice, his compatriots in the caper made a deal with Federal prosecutors to shift all the blame on Montigue. They each served six months. Roman Montigue became the first affluent white American to travel against his will to Guantanamo Bay.
Norma da Vinci was nine years old.

Inaugural Posting

In the future, from our place in the skies, we will name the continents of new worlds in the way we used to name the constellations.