Friday, November 12, 2010


I'm so lucky to get an entire week off for Thanksgiving. I'm going to need it. I've procrastinated enough with the revisions of the screenplay. In a little over a week's time, I'll sit down and do it. No matter what. I swear I will. I have all the notes done. I know what needs changing, and I will do it.

In the meantime, I've had something of a revelation as far as deciding what my next project will be. We had a visiting author at my school, Kimberly Willis Holt. She wrote When Zachary Beaver Came to Town and My Louisiana Sky. She said that when she first started writing, she decided she wanted to write like an author she had admired in middle school.

I started thinking about that. Then I decided maybe, in order to get back into the swing of things, I should try to write a story more like those I admire. The three books that I read over and over again are Frank Herbert's Dune, John Steinbeck's East of Eden, and -- probably most surprising -- Nick Cave's And the Ass Saw the Angel. I see the similarities between the first two -- broad, sweeping, generational epics about man carving out his niche in a universe... But the third. Then I realized what it is that always draws me back to that work: the language and the voice. It is an ugly, dirty, gritty story full of pestilence and violence and decadence in the H.P. Lovecraft sense of the word, but it captivates me. Of course, Nick Cave is primarily a song writer, which is why his language is so beautiful, even if his plot is not.

After a talk with my husband -- he's not all unicorns and rainbows when it comes to my writing; he does take it seriously -- we decided I had a voice, but it might make sense to cultivate it a little more. So my next project, pushing all else aside, is going to be finishing Magpie. This was a novella I started my last semester of workshop. It's about a slightly crazy daughter of a moonshiner who kills the preacher's son when he tries to rape her, but no one knows what happened to him. Yes, I listened to "Crow Jane" over and over as I worked on the first two sections. Well, once the screenplay's finished, I'm going to head back to those, rewrite the first two sections, and then finish the story. I think it might be good for me, since Magpie is the only character that has ever gotten away from me.

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