As I mentioned, I am in the midst of the tenth draft of Anori.
Which means that I go back and forth between feeling like a writer – at the exact center of a marvelously spinning wheel with moments and experiences flashing out in wonder – and a monosyllabic imbecile who blathers on about nothing. Or both at the same time, the wheel spinning out blather.
Well, at least I wrote this. It feels like something, even if it isn’t.
Now on my tenth draft of Anori, I have gone through many renditions of how to give the reader background information on Apollo’s breed of wildcat: the serval. This heavy-handed version has been expunged:
The dusty glossy edge of Wild Cats of the World stood out black and orange. She reached up for the book and let it drop hard on the floor, making Apollo jump. “Let’s see what it says about you. Maybe you’re just some mongrel cat with a complex.”
Dee leafed through to the section and examined the black and white head shot. “Your face looks right. The serval is a tall, lightly-built cat with a small, slim face, dominated by very large oval-shaped ears. Relative to the rest of its body, the serval has the longest legs of any cat species.” She watched him approach from across the room. “Long legs. Check. Serval coat…speckled and spotted. Like the cheetah, the serval is among the more specialized cats. Its long, mobile toes and strong, curved claws also help it hook a mouse hidden in the grass or extract a rat from a burrow.” She looked at him over the book. “But you’re supposed to eat them, not leave them dead.”
I’ll tell you where the hell I’ve been! In some tech black hole where the server won’t let me log onto my blogsite, like I’m some kind of fucked-up psycho ranting on about crazy stuff. And even if I am, it’s my right to be like that, goddamn it.
And so, yes, I’m back, at a local watering hole (with wifi that doesn’t screen my flawed genius) sending out a sadly and recently scene from my Anori opus:
“I ever tell you about the Hooded Seal?”
“I know all about that one.”
“The Hooded Seal is born off the coast of your island, Newfoundland, and it has five days to suckle. Then it’s on its own.”
“It’s a tough world out there. We all know that.”
“Five days to figure out how to fish, or else it’s dead. Five days or you’re dead. You know how far it swims, Fitz?”
“Everything is a long way out there.”
“It swims across the Labrador Sea to Greenland, all of that, a thousand kilometers, following along the continental shelf. It eats tons of shrimp and squid.” Dee put on a kettle for tea. “Oh, and it can dive down to 120 meters and stay underwater for over an hour. That’s something, isn’t it?”
“The seals are better than us now?” He swigged from his pewter flask. “Is that what you’re on about? The dogs of the water? They know better and all that?”
“There are eighteen species of seal in the world, everywhere in the world, and they’ve evolved into what they are.” She stopped, expecting Apollo to be behind her and coil through her legs. “Do we care about any of this? I mean, they’re just seals. We eat them or club them or whatever.”
“You joined her animal group. You told me about that.”
“It’s not about protecting seals, Fitz. It’s not even about appreciating them. It’s just awareness, being aware. And we’re not.”
“Maybe we’re not up to such high demands, Deirdre.”
I have been struggling with the shade of blue for the Infinity Corporation logo for years now. There are many shades of blue: baby, sky, cobalt. And then I realized that the right shade of blue would have to be the darkest one of all, hedging toward black, the color of the deep ocean, the only color that might appear in the void of space. And that is Midnight Blue.
Also of note in today’s writing was the naming of the Lunar colony (New Phoenix), the ship (Umiariak) and their news channel (Mina).
It took me two weeks to open my editor’s email. Even then, I was only able to scan them and fixated on one line: This is the point where my growing frustrations would cause me to close the book and not pick it up again.WTF?!?
The opening remarks were positive: I really love this book. So much of the writing is fantastic—clear, evocative, and crystalline. Dee is such a great character!And then…a descent into what he really wanted to say: The tone of the novel, as I’ve mentioned, is at times difficult to discern, at times seeming like realism, other times satire, and others as purposefully surreal.
I still haven’t been able to read all of the notes. It’s like a mild form of PTSD. I mean, I understand the essential problem is the narrative bouncing back and forth between Greenland and New York. What I wanted to do was to emphasize Dee’s indecision, but the audience won’t have it because she needs her motherfucking arc/ark.
I am getting to a point where I can call my editor and talk about it. I’m almost ready. Soon.
I am angry not because it’s the first step in any program but because no one is honest about who they are. Not one of us. The pandemic has made this clear.
After all of the drivel about finding oneself in the quiet of the lockdown – talk which lasted all of three days – the only thing that anyone did was consume and bitch and consume and consume and consume.
Worth saving? Why? We are fucked. And good riddance to us. Btw, I have a book about that, called Anori. It’s about leaving this planet so we go fuck up another one.
I just completed a more-or-less final draft of Anori, the first book of The Cx Trilogy about leaving earth on a generational space ship to another galaxy. There might have been a brief moment of satisfaction – more of relief – but it was emptiness that reigned.
The final line of the book reads: Dee felt almost calm as she looked ahead for the ship, realizing she had no idea what it would be like, how anything would be at all.
Next up is the first draft of my teaching memoir, Fuck Pedagogy, which should be much easier to write. After all this is not an imagined world but a place that I know all too well. The opening lines of this book now read:
“Why do you want to teach?” Phil was my supervisor in teacher’s college, a big friendly guy with a thick beard and glasses. “I want you to draw what that looks like.”
Posterboards were distributed. I drew a prison.
“Hmm.” Phil hovered over my shoulder for a moment. “Why the barbed wire?”
“I didn’t like school.”
“Interesting.” He stayed another moment, nodding to himself, and then carried on to chat with others.
With the pandemic winding down in New York, I thought It time to offer a final list of Pandemic Accomplishments.
Most importantly for me, I completed the final draft of Anori (well, almost).
I applied for 80+ jobs across America (including Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston and New York, Europe (London, Lisbon, Salzburg, Rome, Zurich, Paris and Barcelona to name a few) as well as Kathmandu. Still looking. Hmm.
I travelled to Maine, Oregon, California, Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard.
I raised the daily visits for this blog from 30+ views per day to 150+ views per day.
I had both of my knees replaced, had nine Covid-19 tests and was vaccinated.
I have basically kicked my Fishdom addiction after reaching Level 2865. Although I might check in again one of these days.
Every time that I open Anori – something I have done a couple of thousand times – and wait as the document slowly loads, my always eye fastens on the opening line. And it’s never what I want, which has led me to change it some fifty or sixty times.
Dee watched the police car turn down the empty street and vanish on the other side of the park.
The keys to this sentence are a. the police car, b. the viewpoint (from a penthouse apartment) and c. the winds of Hurricane Sandy.
Jostled by the winds, the police car vanished on the other side of the park, as Dee slid the balcony door closed.
And then I think it’s all too much and that I only need the bare bones: The police car vanished on the other side of the park.But, that doesn’t work. Neither does: Dee braced herself as the gusts of wind came up again.
I want to communicate an isolated and brooding tone in the opening, something like Dee stood alone watching the police car as it went from sight on the far side of the park.But not that either.
On a more concrete note, I had my bank account cleaned out by a fraudulent check and await the fire marshal’s clearance to helped my wife salvage what we can be from her office which was destroyed by fire.
On a more positive note, I have applied for jobs in all five New York City boroughs as well as Paris, Helsinki, Lisbon, Lucerne, Lugano, Rome, Newport, Atlanta, Havana, Cayman Islands and Kathmandu. I have also rewritten the first 110 pages of Anori, with some satisfaction.