Tuesday, October 27, 2009

High-Class Problems with a High Class Novel

It comes upon you from all angles, the most recent during the middle of the night, where you are presented with a disembodied voice, telling you "He has a brother."  Heart just short of pounding, certainly at an elevated rate, you arise from the restorative comforts of sleep with an immediate understanding of what this means:  The protagonist of WIP (work in progress) has a brother.  Okay for that, but while your heartbeat is returning to its normal wont, the dynamic of the brothers has manifested itself, a ghostly counterpoint to the way the seeming antagonist has been haunted since the pivotal event driving the novel.  The protagonist's brother and his wife live in rather comfortable state at Casa Jocosa, a fact that was instrumental in drawing the protagonist to live there.  There was a rift between the two.  Henry, the older brother to Lew, was Herschel at birth, but changed it to Henry to accommodate his wife and, so Lew charged in an earlier bout of anger, to de-emphasize his Jewish birth, as in Henry?  Gimme a break, Hersch.  All of which now addresses my concern that Lew, the protagonist, was of the story but not sufficiently in the story.  Well. Henry and his wife, Lois, invite him to tea, which has added implications because the maid who is present, helping prepare the tea and serve it, has not that long ago hired Lew to pursue the significant mission of the story, and Henry, noticing the maid's obvious attention to Lew, is outraged because, with you she makes eye contact and offers you seconds and we can't even get her to offer us firsts, meaning the brothers are at it...again, just as your late father and his big brother went at it from wonderful time to time.

What this means is that, like it or not, you are officially in.  It has been a long time since you have had a novel so absolutely wound about the armature of theme with strands of event; a long time since the dialogue crackled like the lightning of a summer storm.  You cannot fucking hide from this in a welter of notes to be returned to later; you are on the horse, which has a mind of where it wants to go.

What this realization means is that you have already begun to see it published, published in a world of publishing gone particularly mad.  Not only that, you have come face to face with one of the dualities you've been scribbling notes about lately, this duality being the one between doing it for publication and doing it simply because it is.  You would like to do it because it is and because of the chemistry of what it is doing to you now, including the joyous awareness that any given moment, a particular scene or relationship or both are presented to you, spreading out like a leaky ballpoint pen on the pocket of a white shirt.  True dat, you do not own one single white shirt, but the message is clear, and the answer is that you have made yourself what you are and it has come back to remind you of it again.

There are, you realize, thousands of persons out there, wanting to write novels, more in fact than persons who buy or read novels.  You quite understand why they would want to do such a thing, even though their approaches may vary by 180 degrees from your own, thinking of it as work or difficult or some form of apprenticeship wherein the apprentice is beaten or teased or humiliated.  Even as you broadcast pleasure and joy like a dog who has begun to shake off the water from a bath, you are aware of yet another stunning duality.  Will you ever again in your life be presented with a thematic core so particularly perfect as this opportunity?


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