My parents keep making me think up things for them to give me at various culturally appropriate times. So, I decided that I might want a print of a crow from Fat Crow Press, which is one of my favorite places in town. But when I was talking to her a few weeks ago, she told me she was going to have smaller, less expensive prints of two crows. Well, two crows are just about as good as two ravens. I’m going to hang these puppies right below The Hanged Man in the dining room and let those who know what they’re seeing have a nice smile about it.
Anyway, after we went and picked up the print, we stopped by East Side Story and one of the artists for Project X was there and we got to talking and… lord… she’s going to be perfect. And it was awesome to see how excited she was getting just hearing about it from me.
Things are moving along. And so I guess that’s good. I mean, it’s good. It’s just a bunch of stuff that’s out of my hands. So, that part’s scary. But cool.
My aunt called me, meaning to call my mom. But it turned out, I was good enough. I got to hear all about their new dog, how fat my dad is (don’t get me started), how he needs to do their diet, how their daughter needs to do their diet, how it’s not a diet*, etc. I faked a 1 o’clock when the conversation turned, for some reason, to politics.
But I was glad to hear her say “Jooo-lie,” which was my Grandma Phillips’s pronunciation as well. Sadly, I say “Juh-lie.” Even in “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” I sing “born on the fourth of Juh-lie” even though obviously being born on the fourth of Jooo-lie would go better with being a “Doodle.”
*A diet is just what you eat. I am willing to believe that the part of their new way of eating that is “You can either stop eating carbs and see if that will lower your blood sugar or I’m going to start pumping you full of insulin” is a diet in that sense. The part where they’re required to drink two hundred ounces of liquid a day, but can do it in coffee if they so choose, is a fad diet, in the “let’s all lose a bunch of weight our bodies can’t possibly keep off long term” sense. So, I have my concerns.
I was going to spend all day yesterday reading The True Believer, but, at the last minute, I decided to go spend some time with John Overton, just to see what would be involved with getting back into it.
Holy shit! It’s a complete mess.
Reading it, I was struck by both how truly good parts are and how long just boring shit happens–boring shit I was happy to write, but boring shit. There’s no narrative urgency. People wander around and they do shit and they do shit for a reason, but reading it, it really felt like mostly a train being pushed from the back, not pulled from the front.
It’s kind of scary because I feel like, in order to fix it, I’m going to have to not just rewrite it, but reimagine it. John and his dad may need to go back earlier. John definitely needs to participate more in the past. And, no matter how good it is, some of the Sue stuff probably needs to come out.
But, on the other hand, I feel strangely grateful that things have worked out this way–if I hadn’t had the time off working on Project X and the short stories, I wouldn’t have the distance to see this.