• The Loneliest Trade ...

    Too many people like to say that writing is a lonely passage, but while I agree with the sentiment, I often disagree with the reality of it.

    Anything can be lonely if you want it to be. If you write with a wounded hand, I'm sure the text will reflect it, but it doesn't have to be that way. A person's life is a direct reflection of what they've wanted to see, no matter how dark, how bad and how detached. You can apply your social stratums and mores and you'll walk into a prison cell, a red-wood tree-sit or a corporate board room and see the exact same thing, respectively. It just might be the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, too, and maybe you've never seen its equal, but it won't be the only thing going on. It rarely ever is.

    I recently finished, and finally released, the last version of Yellow Fever the other day after an absolute mountain of rework, retooling, rethinking and letting go. I'll probably never touch that book again, barring fame, a publishing contract or postmortem finagling. I'm glad to see the end of it without a doubt, and those that have had the luxury of reading all my novels have often stated that Yellow Fever stands alone, no matter how much I'd prefer for it to stand alone in a dark room and be forgotten. I had written another 80 pages to the book that I had contemplating re-inserting, but I didn't feel it was fair to subject the reader to something so unnecessary, so don't look for it. I know I stated the contrary a few times in the last few months, but somethings are best left unsaid.

    I'll be honest, I had wished that someone suited for this book would've found Yellow Fever, picked it up and published it with a media campaign, but now it'll just be another title in the back catalogue. But in honesty, I always knew this to be the case anyways. So ... nothing lost, but lots gained.

    Greyhound is also off my desk and minus a few basic revisions and changes, it will keep its form throughout this upcoming submission process. I've have higher hopes for this than anything else and can actually already see the light at the end of the tunnel, if that makes any sense at all. It's like knowing you have a winning lottery ticket. Your heart races all the way home as you want to double-check the numbers in privacy behind a locked door. That's an obscure and niche allegory for sure, but some will get it.

    So on to the next project we go. But writing is like dying ... (or so they say – how would I know?) you do it alone.

    ... ...


    1. The "lonliest trade"? I know you can spell so I suspect someone who accused you somewhere of too many typos may not be off the mark :-)

      This post of yours sounds like a post-partum depression. "Yellow Fever", even in its earlier version, was a masterpiece - so at worse you can return to that version with some minor cleanup.

      Congratulations at reaching this milestone. Get a good night's sleep perhaps or wait a week or a month and look at YF again. It deserves more readers - even if that means yet another rewrite, whether due to input from other(s) or just more incubation within you.

    2. Thanks, Robert ...

      Much appreciated. I think I hear Susanna Kaysen calling me from out on the patio.

      New projects will probably override any more rewrites, but I'll take your kind words with me.

    3. The loneliest trade may be that of an email writer.

      Perhaps everyone is busy at blogs.

      I don't know why I can see so many people yakking forever on cellphones ... I understand they get free or nearly free minutes but who is listening and talking to them? I have few people who respond to my emails. Granted I send a lot but it's a lot often and less content than for those cellphone calls I hear in restaurants, outside offside buildings or in their entranceway, in elevators and even restrooms.

      It may be in good part because I am online much of the day .. and write easily. But I fear it may also be that I am just boring, that it's not the loneliest trade (writing emails) but my particular fate.

      Oddly, I would feel inappropriate to call most of those people I email much or talk very long. They can readily browse (or even ignore my emails

    4. Speaking of Kaysen I found this provocative article about her speaking at Brandeis in 2003:


      "However, none of the sincerity and frankness that is her forte as an author was lost in conversation. When asked the cliche question as to whether or not she used writing as a form of therapy or catharsis, Kaysen gave a blunt, "no." She continued to say that art and therapy are distinct. Coming from a "recovered borderline personality," this comment really silenced the listeners. For the everyday person, art could be seen as an escape or distraction, but what about someone who cannot be distracted from his discontent? Kaysen's statement, while grating against contemporary ideals, seemed to make a lot of sense.

      Another surprise came when Kaysen was asked whether she had really recovered from her "mental illness." She acknowledged that despite being older and less wise, she was really no different than she had been when she spent a year of her life in McLean Hospital. She had just learned to live with herself. "You can always kill yourself tommorow," she said in a strangely optimistic tone. Kaysen also disagreed with her original diagnosis of borderline personality and vaguely implied that mild bipolar disorder was a more viable diagnosis. Interestingly, she hypothesized that too much leisure time was one of the leading causes of mental illness."

    5. Kaysen is still chasing the front of the oven with the rest of us. Everything occurs in it's time, much like how Paul Masson will shit-horde his wine until "he's ready" to let it slip loose.

      Welles is probably chuckling in his cold and lonely box.