b r e a t h i n g   r o o m

20 Mar 98

Filled up my current notebook today, brought the new blank one (bought at the same time, held for this eventuality) with me down to Santa Clara for this conference. Started the new book (elegant, slim, but a little large for my liking) with some ceremony, trying to consecrate the final push for finishing this novel. I wrote:

Only Way Free:

Friday, March 20, 1998


Written in pencil is also the price 14.00 and the word new. As I started on the first page, I found myself writing slowly and carefully, articulating each cursive letter, taking pleasure, almost luxuriating in the forms of the words:

in car
at Be conference
cellular phone battery dead
I charged it last night
for longer than the
maximum six hours
(from before midnight
to six-fifteen) - is that
the problem? or is the
damn thing broken

must paint more
why am i denying
myself a known healthy
creative pleasure? fear
of the great/not great
continuum? bah!
what fool, this muddle head.


pressure to finish up revision - good! time it was done. instinct that this is the moment to complete the be book. on with it, man. will have to revise No experience required book next, a good one to farm out if I can afford to do without the advance. possible new book this summer - if handled right will help make next two years plausible for Enterzone, fiction, Coffeehouse projects, and the like. Maybe sometime after that, they'll come to pay their own way.

Elizabeth Bluemle, who started with me the great old no-teacher writing group that still undergirds my creative network to this day, resurfaced recently via e-mail. In describing the bookstore she runs with her partner, she evoked the same metaphor I've used for Enterzone lately - a child who never grows up. You can probably only afford one such entity in your life. My future creative projects and collaborations will have to one day leave the home and make their own livings.

But - yes, it will be fine to complete books underway, repurpose old mss. and continue trying to write successful new computer books, but I'm dying to finish my novel. I've written the beginning, I know - having just lived through - the ending, and the middle will likely now to me along the way. I need time and space to breathe and write.

And - I'm feeling better (more effectively, I mean, more completely) than I ever have before....

And - my relationship with b has recently flickered into 3-D or 4, definitely a dimension not apparent before [in terms of a central metaphor of the book, the shorted-out left speaker just kicked back in].

And - life is short, there is not time for anything. So, will I paint more? Maybe that's the secret? One way or another I have to write Only Way Free (and move on), even if I were not staring at a blank contract with a New york agent interested in representing it.

Dry ice factory
Good place to get some thinking done.

--David Byrne (Talking Heads), "Cities"

yester morrow
day one
first lines

Copyright © 1997, 1998