Summer Is Over
We both finished reading In Search of Lost Time this evening. I don’t know if Pica’s going to try any kind of retrospective post; at the moment I don’t have anything that isn’t stupid. I do like the idea of Proust nearing the end of his book, going over the manuscript and saying to himself, “Given what I have so far, it looks like the structure of this book demands that it will have to end with forty or fifty pages of the best prose ever written. So I guess I’d better do that.” And then he goes ahead and does it, because he’s Proust.
Not ready for school, don’t want to talk about books. With a couple more months of quiet I could do something. That’s all anyone asks for, the couple more months of quiet. I continue to wonder at the logic by which the federal government will loan me money for rent and food only so long as I continue to badly execute arcane tasks for which I am not particularly well suited and which will provide no benefit either to the federal government or to anyone else. At least not until I start teaching, and teaching is frightening. I am a reptile, I can’t talk, and I am grateful that despite the work lying ahead this year, at least I don’t yet have to talk in that way. I don’t have to be responsible for all the talk in the room.
Impatience is the great temptation with this novel manuscript. I want it to be finished like I used to want love; it’s a corrosive desire and if I don’t watch out it will ruin the book. All week it has been sitting cold inside the hard drive, and a hundred tiny links have begun to snap closed in my mind. The book is long and will find its form only through these hundred links. I try to ignore the voice that asks when; and again, when. The only thing that voice wants is money. But the only thing I’ve ever bought with money is quiet.
We hope that you have backed up the novel onto another hard drive, or a server somewhere, or a CD, or a floppy disk, or at the very least an enormous stack of paper.
Yes, several of those things! If a cataclysm were to wipe out our civilization this afternoon, while I was again trying to learn basic Perl, future paleo-critics would be able to reconstruct my novel from its fossilized remains. They would conclude that it was a warm-blooded reptile that had to eat a thousand tons of vegetation a day to maintain its metabolism and defended itself from Michiko Kakutani with its fierce zygomatic spikes.