Chapter Six and Topix

I’m at the point in Chapter six when the gals get on the road and head to Watseka, first, and then Rural Hill, the town I made up, second. And so I’ve emailed the folks at the Roff Home to see if they’re still doing tours and I’ve been taking a crash course in Watseka on the internet. In the process I have learned about this website called Topix.

Do y’all know about this?

Lord almighty, I’m not even linking to it, but let me just say, if ever you’re sitting around being all “Oh, rural America, how quaint and wonderful you are” I invited you to get on Topix and peruse the forums. There is no need for me to even write my novel. I could have 248 blank pages that follow two pages of text. Page one would be the URLs to the Topix forums of the towns I grew up in and page two would read “SEE?!” and then there’d just be 248 pages of incredulous silence.

Anyway, chapter six. In a lot of ways, the first part of it is just dealing with the aftermath of chapter five. And, weirdly, Walt Whitman has ended up in there. Not as a character, just as a discussion topic. I don’t know if I’ll be leaving him or not. But it’s just a draft. He can be in there for a while.

But it’s time for them to get on the road so I can wrap this draft up.

Ha, that’s weird to think about. Wrapping this draft up. I thought, when I started, that I would be lucky to hit 50,000 words in this draft. but I’m already at 51,500. I think I’ll hit 60,000 no problem. And, if not, that’s okay. I expect to add many words on the next draft. There’s nothing in the book about music, nor, really, angels, which is weird when you think about it, since we’re talking about people and feathers. And I’ll need to see who’s getting shorted in the description or explanation department.

Like I said, in some ways, this draft has just felt like a step up from outlining. First you throw the big blobs down. Then you spread the blobs out and see how they fit together. Then you see if you need more blobs. And then you start really finessing those blobs into features and recognizable shapes. I’m still in the process of fitting blobs from the outline together. Just got to get that work done before I see how much more material I need.

I was looking at literary agency websites today. I know. I know. It’s way premature. But I’m thinking about how to pitch it. It’s a novel about religion, certainly, but it’s not a Christian novel in the sense of being something that has an audience of self-identifying Christians first and foremost. There’s Devil-fucking, after all. And it’s a story about the main character’s journey away from organized religion.

So, I just need to be sure to make clear that it’s not a Christian novel, even though, in many ways, that’s exactly what it is.

Free at Last Bail Bonding

Everyone else on the internet has thoughtful things to say about today. I do not. Instead, I point you, probably once again, to the existence of the Free at Last Bail Bonding Party Bus. Please note that their FAQ contains no information useful to anyone who does not need to get themselves or a loved one out of jail.

But believe me, I have questions. Questions I ask frequently when I see that bus.

One of Those Weekends

The Professor made amazing, magical brownies. Not to be confused with “magic brownies.” You get old and you more appreciate a good rum and buttercream frosting over anything that might get you arrested. And we were talking about the ridiculous doubts and how to get through them. You kow, the doubts where you’re perfectly happy in your life, but suddenly you’re paralyzed in fear and doubt because you never, say, went to Aruba. Or maybe you blew your chance at a happy life by not answering that phone call when you were in college.

Or whatever. I’m sure you know what I mean. I don’t have to get into it.

Oh, okay, we have to have a huge sidetrack here. So, I’m writing and it puts me in a mind of Randy Travis’s “Digging Up Bones” and so I wonder, as a person is wont to do, “Who wrote that?” And so I look around the internet and I see on Wikipedia that it lists “Paul Overstreet,” which seems plausible. I couldn’t pick a Paul Overstreet song out of a line-up but whenever I learn a song is by him I feel like I can hear his aesthetics, “Nat Stuckey,” a guy I am less familiar with but a name I know, and fucking “Al Gore.”

And I can’t decide if that’s just graffiti, that someone has thrown Gore’s name in there because why the hell not? Or if it might be plausible. I don’t know. It cracks me up, though.

Anyway, the past. Yes, it sneaks up on you and knocks you in the back of the head, sometimes. The Professor’s theory is that those voices that tell you you should have done this or that, because of some failing on your part, this will never happen for you, never really go away, you just have to hope that the periods in which they are so loud are less frequent.

But it’s funny, too, that that kind of got me out of my funk was, indeed, my own past, driving down 31W from White House into Goodlettsville and just knowing that I had been there before, being so shook to my very core.

I have this myth of myself that I don’t really belong anywhere, that I’m not from anywhere, because we never lived any place long enough for me to be.

But for a second, seeing a place I hadn’t seen since I was a child, not twenty minutes from where I live, whew, it was weird.  It made me feel like there are parts of the world where I do have a past and those good times can haunt me, too.