The Novel That Won’t Go Away

it just won’t go away

Dear Friends,

That’s right, the manifesto, Brokeland, begun in 1994; the package of writing that earned me a Fellowship at Breadloaf Writer’s Conference in 1996?; the writing that was a bunch of short stories that evolved from a stack of columns I wrote for a rag newspaper in Brooklyn under the name, Dr. L.H. Casey in 1992, the writing that my then literary agent suggested I turn into a novel because she couldn’t sell a first time author’s short stories, a suggestion which overwhelmed me as I attempted to weave the stories together into a novel or novella or novelette and failed.

The writing that I cursed and pissed on, the writing that made me stop writing until lately because I forgot about the writing, it being in a bottom drawer, my mother’s bottom drawer, which I emptied upon her death in May; Writing that I thought had long ago been abandoned in bottom drawers, here and there, in my various apartments in various cities. Writing that I guess I had sent my mother in order that she feel proud. Writing I supposed she had thrown out. She didn’t throw out a page. Hundreds of pages of crappy writing, but not crappy enough to burn, in fact, almost good enough, if I spend a solid year on it without pause, drinking binge or debilitating depression, good enough for like-minded people to enjoy, actually treasure, as a source of inspiration derived from an unlikely source: An unpublishable, unemployable, misunderstood genius who’s Achilles heel was an inability, due to sloth, to turn a bunch of short stories into a novel.

The book is back out in the light, on the table, and I don’t care how long it takes, I’ll get it to you. Until then, stop watching TV.

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