In honor of Jackson's beautiful blog Write from Scratch, I would like to take a moment to go all writing meta for a minute. I wish I could do such a thing as Jackson is doing but I think it would cause me much anxiety about the current writing project(s) and then I wouldn't be able to finish them which is what the meta is all about. If his book is half as good as his blog,
Here's my problem and I do think you all know it. I have too many book projects. When you have several book projects and none of them is done (i.e. not published, thereby not set in stone), your 3 book projects an easily become one book project. The themes swirl and eddy, the styles impinge on one another, the stories can be interchanged. This seems particularly a problem for me who is writing, of the 3 books, 2 kind of memoir things. How many memoirs does one person need to write?
When Quench finally (and I mean finally) got picked up in September, I was nothing but glee even though Salmon (Salmon) still was not making any headway and Salmon was what I had the most invested in of late. So when Quench--about water, wine, sex, birds, wolves and dams--won the contest, I rested on my laurel-like chair for about half a minute and then freaked the hell out. The first problem was, why was I revealing so much? Shut the hell up, self. The second was, um, don't I say this in Salmon? Was Salmon really just a rehashing of Quench? Was Quench just a rehearsal for Salmon?
But late one night, after a kind David Shields gave me some good advice, I realized two things. Quench is Quench and Salmon is Salmon. I went back into Quench and took out all the nervousness, the over-reaches and the I'm-so-clevers. Well, at least the ones I could see for that minute. And then I went back to Salmon and chopped off, like chopping off a toe (a much-loved but not really necessary body part), the first half of the book. The reveals in Salmon are fewer (Quench is burdened with those) but Salmon, which had suffered from tonal issues, is now a lot more fun. I hope. I need to get it into the world because one problem with meta is its all very interior and this week, which has been in some ways like a writer's retreat, is also kind of The Shining like in that maybe I think I'm making progress but only in the cold light of day (what kind of light is it? Harsh? Hard? Sometimes, I think English is not my first language--idiom-wise) will I know. And sadly, the cold light of day is not always easy to find even though it is indeed sunny out there.