Pete Rock asked me to take notes on my process. So that’s what I’m doing.
I’ve been meeting with Whitney Otto once a week, turning in drafts and batting around ideas. Yesterday I talked about how I wanted to be funny. Or, at least, funnier. She recommended Lorrie Moore, which brought me back to “How To Be A Writer” for the first time in years. It’s still good. I’m also reading the David Foster Wallace collection Girl with Curious Hair. It gives me the creeps and I love it.
We’ve been talking about structure. Even when I try to write discrete stories, I end up leaving little trails of breadcrumbs between them. Familiar phrases and faces turn up again whether I want them to or not. The overall collection will be loosely threaded together, but certain stories will hang together in particular little clusters. The theoretical little clusters have the following working titles: “The Desperate Man Appreciation Society”, “Low Country”, and “Satellites”.
I’ve been a good little worker, pounding out a few pages a week. Soon I’ll have my first complete story draft. I feel almost hyper-productive, driven by bottomless cups of coffee and the pursuit of impossible objects. These sorts of muses probably aren’t great for me in the long run, but they’re sure making me write. I like to think that they build character.
I’m working mostly on “Goodbye, Invisible Man” and a little on its sister story, “Win”. They are both about love and the lack of it. Some of the characters are a little monstrous. (The female of the species is more dangerous than the male.) “Goodbye, Invisible Man” started out horribly true and then became more and more fictitious as I continued to write it. “Win” started out entirely fictional and later came true.
Life is strange like that.