Writer Thaisa Frank invited me to participate in a series, The Next Big Thing, regarding what work one is doing. Here, posted, are my answers to the questions sent my way.
Nabokov says that writers who share unfinished work are like dogs begging for scraps at the table. That said, to jump metaphors into a realm a bit less defined, perhaps there lives something salutary in the idea of swimming in the river of words along with one's fellow writers and readers, to avoid treating the finished project as some Grecian urn which must be hidden away until its grand unveiling, to speak without incantatory superstition about the next work.
Therefore, to say it straight: I am in the middle of what surely will be a years-long project for me, portions of which have already appeared, as fiction and non-fiction, in the current issues of CONJUNCTIONS and ZYZZYVA. The finished work will probably be a trilogy entitled DOGS OF CUBA, with one of the books being the novel which I have just torn apart for the fourth or fifth time, one being a book of voice-driven stories, and the third being a question mark.
So much writing about Cuba takes on the maximalism of Cuban life; I greatly admire, for example, the crowded interiors of Pedro Juan Gutierrez's DIRTY HAVANA TRILOGY. That said, I have, similarly, long admired the spareness of J.M. Coetzee, and my hope is to achieve some of his spare, urgent metaphysics with this project
Now I feel I am on a gangplank, stating such hopes so openly. Sharks gather. But let the hope rise and crest. As the poet John Shade in PALE FIRE says, the book may come out to universal acclaim, all 300 sold.
Or let, at least, the wish find its way in a bottle out onto the page, or may it help uncork any readers whom this missive finds.
And please visit www.thaisafrank.com.
Causes Edie Meidav Supports
Heifer International, Kiva, 826 Valencia