It was purely synchronicity at the outset---four or five days before I heard about this novel-writing contest, I had penned a "character" in my journal who awoke in the middle of the night, oh no, not again, with the ennuis. I sensed there was more to her than a mere journal entry. But I've been busy with promo and public appeareances for my just-released memoir, TANGO, AN ARGENTINE LOVE STORY. Plus, I haven't written fiction since Plot Theory (3rd place winner of Kurt Vonnegut short fiction '06). But the calling (back) was there. I can't believe I actually wrote a novel with a beginning, middle, and end, with characters, a reasonable facsimile of a plot, a theme, a worldview, and whatever else the schools say you need these days---oh, a bit of literary license, and surrealism--to make book. Word total is about 64,500 words. When I wrote on November 1 or so, that I always wanted to write like Andre Breton, I was half serious, and of course, half sardonic. I'm a slow writer and I didn't expect to finish the project. But knowing how I get so totally into a piece--sometimes even an email can take me two hours, IF I care too deeply, knowing how I burn to the core, my plutonium rods, I visualize, melting down, I set one guideline---not to "burn," not to get that attached to it, the writing, the story, the characters. And for the most part, I didn't. Hey, computer crashes, novel gone. C'est la vie. Adios, throwaway writing. There's lots more where that came from. Right.
But then I did get attached - to the process maybe. Having this fictional landscape into which I could escape the reality of my current status (waiting for the book that's out there to turn a profit---and being obssessed with how to do that which the publisher cannot afford to do---promote it) was dare I say, fun? It was work, too. And now I am attached to my novel, which I have functionally called, One Novel November (new title TK). And I will keep working on it. One little thing that helped me get it done---to keep the word count up-- was this: in my memory's fictional data bank I had a slew (or is it slough, too lazy to check now) of characters who came to the fore and offered to step in, be dusted off, and speak to my new character. I am terrible on plot---but I love characters and I really dislike having plot get in the way of their being, saying, doing what they want. This is a fatal flaw, I don't wish upon any writer. But it is so---despite my best efforts to make it otherwise.
You were asked to submit a "cover" photo for the book, along with the words, at the contest Web site--which seemed a bit premature to me. But I did. The only photo I had that could by a stretch work (symbolically) was one of a big white, funnel-shaped (maybe lenticular) cloud in a deep blue sky; the cloud is being blown to shreds by the fierce wind of Patagonia. You can actually see the wind in this photo, no kidding. My Dad used to chant a poem, Who has seen the wind, neither you nor I . . . I'm not sure what this has to do with my book . . . will meditate on it.
Well, have to run and insert today's changes into my ONN.
Causes Camille Cusumano Supports
environmental protection - women's reproductive rights - economic justice
San Francisco Zen Center
San Francisco Zen...