Saturday, September 30, 2006

To blog or not to blog

Here’s the good news, people: I’ve started work on the sequel to Jack Wakes Up. Now, I don’t like to talk about work in progress, but in the 4:58 of the soul, that’s what I have to admit was this week’s most worthwhile development.

As it turns out, Craig does want to see more stories up on the site, but I’m not sure that they’re ready to go here. That is, if I’ve e-published them myself here, what does that do to my ability to send them out? True thing: I’m not much sending anything out right now, but if I were, it’d be good to have some stories to do it with. So maybe I’ll hold those few. Also, has anybody who’s not related to me read all of the stories that are already out there? (Other than Ori?) I didn’t think so. Keep checking.

One thing I’m thinking of: while I’m working on a new writing project, I always journal about how it’s going, what my progress is like and what goals I’d like to set then how I’m doing with meeting them. I’d be pretty touchy about sharing those that are current, but I did this for my process with Jack Wakes last year and I’m thinking about posting a few of those on this blog. Kind of a one-year later kind of thing or something that might be potentially interesting to those of you who know the book now through hearing it or reading it online. I don’t know if that’d be interesting or not, but it’s an idea that I have about what might make for good companion content.

So going back to last year and reading some of these, there’s an entry on 8-1 that has nothing to do with Jack Wakes Up at all, or writing hardly. It starts out complaining about all we have to do to get set up in California, dmv, etc., and then a little about what I’m reading, and then:

Tonight I thought of a title for a story “The Kings of Saturn.” Maybe too much Denis Johnson or Brad Watson or WG Sebald (wrote The Rings of Saturn) or even Tony Earley. Got a good email from Richard last night and today. Seems like he’s writing, really writing now and making use of himself this summer. Also says a lot of good things about me as a teacher. So I know I did some good there. I should write back to Augusta – did it. She’s a super kid. So’s Richard. We’ll get there, with or without coaching basketball. But reading, yes. That’s the thing I need to do. Phil Jackson: Maverick and maybe even the new book about Kobe. I bought the Suzuki book about meditation today and should’ve bought but didn’t buy a book called “Confessions of a Yakuza” by somebody. That looked pretty cool. But maybe I wouldn’t have read it. Again, we’ll see.

In the morning he ran two miles and came home to smoke a cigarette, his one of the day, with a cup of coffee. He’d kicked the junk over five years ago now, two thousand forty-four days ago exactly, and hadn’t had a drink in just over two years. The cigarettes were more of an add-on, something else he wanted to control just to say he’d been able to though most of his friends thought him a freak for quitting, wished he’d still smoke just to show that some part of him was human.
Fuck that, Jack thought, snuffing out the last of today’s smoke. He knew that he had at least a thousand things he fucked up every day to show him exactly how human he was, constant reminders of just how in-perfect he was not. He got up and washed his hands…

And that’s it: from stuff about Phil Jackson straight to the start of Jack. It goes on for a little bit (I was probably trying to get 500 or 1000 words) and the last thing that happens is Jack gets a call from Ralph.

Jack took the bowl to the sink and washed it out. The phone rang and he let it. On the third ring he picked up. “Yo, Jackie boy.” He recognized Ralph’s voice immediately, not only the most unlikely person to call at this time of the morning, but also one of the few people from the old days that Jack would prefer to have leave him alone.
“Yeah. You don’t have to sound so happy to hear my voice, either. Been a while, I know.” Across the bay, a steamer made its way into the port at Oakland. Soon the huge cranes would start to unload the giant metal boxes. “Listen, Jack. I have a deal,” Ralph said. “I have a way to make a real and final—I mean neither of us will ever have to worry about money ever again kind of—score.
Shit, Jack thought. Then he looked to the mail of the past few days stacked on the counter: bills and some third notices in yellow envelopes with white lettering printed in big red boxes. The people from the bank had started to call again too.

And then that’s it for the day. Funny. But there’s (was) the start. Just like that. Pushing through, of course, that’s the main thing. Managing your schedule.

So OK. That was how it started. Come back tomorrow (or soon) and we’ll see how I went from there. Funny thing is: last summer I started reading a good book by Phil Jackson called Sacred Hoops and wanted to read his book Maverick that he wrote in the 70s when he was still playing for the Knicks. It actually took me a long time to find this damn thing b/c it’s rare and people wanted like $100 for it, but somehow it turned up in Canada in a search I did and I got it maybe about a month ago. And I’m reading it now. Not as good as Sacred Hoops, but kind of interesting. Ok. Not that interesting except to find out that if you had a bad back problem in the 70s, probably like the kind I get pretty frequently and would get even worse if I were trying to play pro hoops, they cut your back open and fused your vertebrae together (just two) by adding a piece of bone from your hip or somewhere. This was the surgery they did on Jackson and, as you’d imagine, the recovery was awful. Now I think he’d probably just do a bunch of yoga and be fine. What the F? (If you mention this to me, I’ll know you’re a true reader of this blog. Ori, if you’re reading this, I’ll send you Maverick next if you want it.)


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