No blog in a while and I thought I’d better do some catch-up. It’s April, the spring rain is falling, the snow is bleeding away, and one month from today we embark for the Yoop for our annual six-month sojourn. Unlike most Michigan geezers who winter in Fla, Az we winter In the Zoo where snowfall is only 110 inches vs 200-300. its a BIG diff. Meanwhile our friends up in Crystal Falls have gotten 16 inches of fresh snow since yesterday. These late march-April snows kill deer in droves. Our place is in some hills about 50 miles north of Crystal, , so the snow is likely to still be heavy there. I expect we will still have snow in the woods; last year we went up May 20 and had some snow piles here and there. But we will catch the first wisps of spring up there and that will be wonderful as the land comes back to life.
Still waiting to hear from publisher on HARDER GROUND, my second short story collection, and on other matters. And I finally got first draft of BROWN BALL done and have shipped that to my agent. This is a glacial business in many ways, part of the beauty and frustrations inherent. Said it before and will repeat it. If you are looking for immediate feedback or satisfaction, this is not th endeavor for you. Writing is about sustaining your own momentum against all the imaginary ghosts and hurdles that lay in the human mind.
What most readers don’t understand is that even with 20-30 books published, acceptance of the next one isn’t guaranteed. There’s no automatic in this biz unless you self-publish and then, in my mind/opinion, you are not publishing at all: You’re just printing unfiltered, unedited material, and going around the publisher to get that immediate satisfaction this business is not about. From a reader’s view, the author going through a legit publisher and agent guarantees readers to some extent some stamp of quality or multiple eyes having worked over a story before it gets there. This is not to put down self-published stuff. I once read a self-published memoir by my friend Lew Carlson. VAN GOGH’S RIGHT EAR: DISSONANT CHORDS FOR THE PROGENY: A MEMOIR. This is one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever read and Lew said in his usual candor that he just didn’t want to be bothered with a publisher. Honest in all things, including his trout fishing.
Editing of MOUNTAINS OF THE MISBEGOTTEN is now underway. This is Lute Bapcat’s second story and my editor seems to quite like it. Had few editorial changes and passed it to copy-editing to take the rest of the way through. We’ll handle editor and copy editor’s queries notes all in the same process, thereby removing one step from the process. Book will publish in the fall. All good and now I await the whole load in one bolus for electronic review, which of course I am incapable of. So I will print it out and do the old fashioned way and then transcribe changes into the electronic manuscript. I also have to rough out a map for the publisher’s cartographer to render. But, we’re closed to putting this “puppy” to bed.
I have about a third of the next Grady Service story (No 10 in the series) in the plastic box for completion up north and will begin research for the third Bapcat. No 2 takes place in the summer of 2014, but I am seriously thinking I am going to jump the third book in the series to the period of 1918-1919 and perhaps change the setting rather substantially.
And of course I’ll continue on more new short stories up north, if history is a predictor. Got about a dozen done now for a collection or individual placement, not sure which. Also thinking seriously of keeping a cartoon, drawing journal of this year up north, see what that produces. Not a graphic novel format. More like Jim Thurber, cartoons interwoven with text. We shall see.
To be honest, my mind also beginning to seriously shift to brook trout. Have been down-loading top maps to look at stream beds and various lokes in the hills around our summer abode. Brookie fishing (when the snow finally melts and the levels finally drop : call these optimistic thoughts) promises to be excellent. Lonnie and I know a dozen pretty good spots all within thirty minutes of where we will be and now have another dozen marked for exploration. As always I will try to drive close and bush-bust as little as I need to. Hard to fish a lot of brookie water from the water because much of is is discolored by tannin and impossible to see through the reddish brown tint. So some places I can wade up or downstream and others we’ll have to bank hop our way, looking for openings. Brother in law mike is less than an hour away rather than 3-4 so I hope he can get over to join me in worm dunking. We have always had great fun in doing this.
The camera surely will get much use this trip and I hope to jump in with some of my CO friends while we are north. And before we leave I hope to visit the DNR academy, see how our recruits are faring. They are about halfway through that most demanding school and training. 31 began and they class is now down to 25 or 26. It is HARD CHALLENGE, and that’s not promotional hyperbole.
What sort of things do I do when not writing? Same as you and other folks. But probably I do a lot more reading than most folks. And I spend time every day transcribing notes into my Commonplace Book, as sources to refer to when we are away from our main library and information files.
All from here for now. Hope all well for you and yours and that you are prospering at the levels you seek and in good health, especially good health.
Here, from the most recent NEW YORKER, in an article entitled “Home Fires,” by George Packer.He writes: “Journalists and historians have to distort war: in order to find the plot – causation, sequence, meaning – they make war more intelligible than it really is. In the literature by veterans, there are virtually no politics or polemics, in stark contrast to the tendentious way in which most Americans, especially those farthest removed from the fighting, discussed Iraq. This new writing takes the war, though not its terrible cost, as a given….Instead of coherent explanatory narrative, it presents us with fragments…. Fragments are perhaps the most honest literary form available to writers who fought so recently. Their work lacks context, but it gets closer to the lived experience of war than almost any journalism. It deals in particulars, which is where the heightened alertness of combatants has to remain, and it’s more likely to notice things.”