I’m in a weird headspace today. I’m really excited about the reading tonight and I’m just focusing on that. One bit of advice they give you when doing readings is that you should only go on for about twenty minutes because otherwise, people get bored. “Sarah Clark” alone is twenty minutes. “Frank” is about the same. And then all the little stories. I think I’m sitting just at over an hour. Assuming I tell people a little about what they’re about to hear. Good thing it’s a coffee place.
I’m glad I read them out-loud ahead of time yesterday, too, because it made me realize that I need to be prepared for “We are Our Own Ghosts” to hit me right in the gut. It’s the end of it, really, from the moment the grandma tries to make Pinky understand how unmoored you can become, to the police officer crying in his car over it. I could switch to another story, but I want to read a story about a house. So, I’ll just cry at the end, if there’s crying to be done.
I was also surprised by how affected I was at the end of “Frank.” That is a good story. It’s kind of hard to imagine me ever writing something that perfect again, but we’ll see.
But damn, people, I have a bunch of words to pronounce tonight that I’m not actually sure how to say. Datura stramonium, physostigma venenosum, Micajah. This is how I feel like you know I’m missing some big chunks of formal education. I use a lot of words in my writing that I have never heard out loud. I’m not sure I would recognize them if I did.
I feel more confident about the Latin. You basically just ask yourself “What would sound most like a Harry Potter word?” and, even if it’s not quite right, it will sound okay to people.
But I honestly don’t know how to even give Micajah a guess. Is it Mike-ah-zhah? Mike-ah-gah? Mike-asia? Mik-ashia? Mik-ah-zhah? Would we pronounce it differently today than a 18th century mid-south serial killer would have? It’s honestly no wonder to me that folks took one look at his name and called him “Big” instead.
It makes me consider what I want from my writing and the truth is, I guess, that I want two things–I want to publish a book. I wish it could be Flock, and I will be dreadfully disappointed if it can’t be the Sue Allen thing, which I think is funny and sad and sharp-edged. And I want to write a ghost story I find genuinely spooky.
But I write things I enjoy. That’s a good thing to realize.