Octopus' Garden

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

IF NOT WELL DONE, THEN MEDIUM RARE

Alongside the new poetry manuscript, I've also been working on a novel-in-stories about classical musicians, set in a fictional music school, which I think may be done. Not done done as in completely revised and polished, but done in the sense that I think I now have a fairly complete draft on my hands. The manuscript currently stands at about 250 pages, with seven short stories and a 75-page novella--all interconnected with overlapping characters. I've placed two of the stories so far: one in the recent 30th-anniversary issue of River Styx, and another story forthcoming in North American Review.

I'm sure that there's still a lot of work yet to be done, but quite frankly, I'm a little bit amazed at the fact that the manuscript is now in existence. I know that probably sounds overly dramatic and a little bit silly, but I feel as if I've spent a very long time really wanting to write fiction and not being at all sure whether or not I could actually pull it off. The manuscript is sitting on my desk, in a tentative order now, and it seems like such a strange and unfamiliar beast . . . I don't know if it's any good or not, but it's there, it exists. The pages are really real and they're all filled with words and music and characters who seem very familiar and visceral to me now.

I'm glad it's not done done yet, because in all honesty, I'm not really ready to quite let go. That, and I'm not sure where I'd like to go next, which is always a very vulnerable and unsettling place for me. Whenever possible, I like to know what I'm going to work on next before I let go of the last thing. Otherwise, it seems entirely possible that I could fall into a crack in between one thing and the next and just get lost and never come back. With the poetry manuscript wrapping itself up and a new academic year starting, I feel as if I need to hold myself back from the edge of what could be a precipice until I can build myself a little bit of a bridge. So it's good that it's not done done. For all of those reasons. But maybe I can, for now, declare it officially Medium Rare.
posted by Artichoke Heart at 10:23 PM

6 Comments:

What a great way to start the semester! Congratulations!
Blogger Camicao, at 11:29 PM  
Wow! Congrats on that! You are very inspiring to me, your commitment to writing and all. I can't even get a decent sentence out from underneath my fingertips let alone an entire manuscript. I raise a glass to you!

- Shannon from Seattle
Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:10 AM  
Congrats, Lee Ann! I look forward to having that book in my hands...but no pressure...let it grow wild, first.

As you turn to face the world of teaching, over here in northern Japan, I enter a brief summer hiatus ...which entails no teaching or meeting duties but still mandatory days at my office...and I fumble about mumbling, what to do what to do...but such freedom is all delicious confusion, no doubt.

Thanks for adding The Melting World to your spicy tuna roll...now I gotta update your link, too, by the by.

Happy to see you back here in cyberland: your blog is a lovely place to travel to.

Cheers,
Rebecca Dosch-Brown (sounds a bit like hashbrowns, ne?
Anonymous Rebecca, at 12:59 AM  
Didn't your mother warn you about musicians?
Blogger Radish King, at 5:27 PM  
Thank you, Rebecca D-B, who rhymes a little bit with hashbrowns.

And Rebecca L. -- yes, my mother did warn me and I didn't listen. In fact, I was a classical musician for quite some time in a former incarnation. There were poet warnings as well, but to no avail, I'm afraid.
Blogger Artichoke Heart, at 12:51 AM  
CONGRATULATIONS!!!

That's a huge accomplishment. And already placing two stories is amazing!!
Blogger Patty, at 5:08 AM  

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