Glory be, boy-howdy, and hallelujah! Who woulda thunk that four days and nights lying in bed in a fever-induced hallucinatory stupor could be so wonderful?
First, my back spasms hit the road, at least for a while. Good riddance. Then, the six-foot tall chickens clucking around my fevered brain decided they belonged in my WIP. Once I was back on my feet, I had to agree with them.
So: I’m writing. I’m not in agony. Life is good.
I’m gonna take advantage of this lovely state of affairs and concentrate on my WIP rather than my blog for a while.
But before I go:
A couple of weeks pre-flu I went to hear Mark Richard speak at my local university. My bad, but I’d never heard of him before, even though he’s written several award-winning short story collections, a cult-favorite novel, and has just published his memoir, which is getting a fair amount of buzz.
He read from his memoir, House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home, written in the second person. He used lots of repetition that initially I found pretty annoying. The repetition ultimately became mesmerizing, though, and I’d like to know how he did that. The segment he read involved his lying in a full-body cast in a Southern charity hospital somewhere as a child. Now, I’ve spent time lying in a full-body cast as well, but in a world-renowned Harvard-affiliated hospital and I can attest that it ain’t no picnic even under more ideal circumstances – as in, I wasn’t even on the look-out for roaches crawling into my cast.
You’ve been warned in case you decide to pick up his book. I get the feeling there’s a heavy dose of Southern grit running throughout both his memoir and his fiction.
During the Q&A, someone asked him about the genesis of one of his award-winning stories, which apparently was also filled with lots of repetition.
He said that he had an assignment (the story) due the next day and he had no idea what to write. It was 1 AM and he was panicked. He knew that if he sat down at the keyboard and just typed the same word over and over again, eventually something, anything would kick in and he’d have a phrase, a sentence, something – and then he’d be able to go on.
He was feeling lazy, so his word was “in”. So he just kept typing “in” until something else took over and his story, which went on to win some award, was born. Apocryphal? Who knows. It’s a good story, though.
Oh. He’s a writer.
Despite Richard’s relative critical success as a writer, he supports his wife and family by writing scripts for TV crime shows that he didn’t recommend that anyone in the audience waste their time watching. He mentioned – twice – the income and decent health insurance associated with these endeavors. One more anecdote to put in your don’t-quit-your-day-job-yet file.
Okay, me and the chickens have got us some work to do. I hope to have something worth sharing before too long. And you’ll see it here first.