I had a publishing deal. That was the dream. Or almost. It was a dream, but it wasn’t quite a deal. It was a letter from an agent who had expressed interest in the past and had replied again. That was something. And then I blew it. I complained to her about my years in publishing hinterland – or Neverland – never having published a thing. I searched through my old titles. I couldn’t even remember what they might be about. But they did intrigue. I only needed them in print, with well designed covers and just the right font. And so I had a short series run, gave copies to my family and friends, and told one about complaining to this agent who had interest, but he was on the phone, or there was an event, and he forgot to even take the book when he left. That was the dream. Not publishing anything, just writing, like now, this.
What one must aim for in the struggle to control the desires was the condition of “ethical virility” according to the model of “social virility”. In the use of male pleasures, one had to be virile with regard to oneself, just as one was masculine in one’s social role. In the full meaning of the world, moderation was a man’s virtue.To be immoderate was to be in a state of nonresistance with regard to the force of pleasures, and in a position of weakness and submission. In this sense, the man of pleasures and desires, the man of non-mastery (akrasia) or self-indulgence (akolasia) was a man who could be called feminine.*
All I want to do is expand the narrative gaze so that the world is in the reader’s head, and all of the characters are specific and clear, giving each and every scene an ideal arc and so embroil the meta in a tightly composed understanding of why we’re all here. (And then I want to go to Europe.*)
I learned a lot at my Kenyon College writing camp. I learned about when to use different forms of dialogue. I learned about revelations, voice and x and y. I learned about repetition. I learned to listen. Chris Tilghman is a lovely man. He guides with self-deprecating wisdom. He shares his soul in an easy, remarkable fashion. He and my colleagues – especially Caitlin Fitzpatrick, our writing fellow – buoyed my spirits, reminded me to be less of an ass and more a writer. Just listen.
The final lesson: Endings need to be surprising and yet inevitable. The writer needs to resolve things and have something else to say in the end.