Horny Nuns, Update, Manifesto &c.

I just finished the first draft of a novel I’ve been working on for a few months, third book in I guess five years, and I’m proud to have done it, think it’s an enjoyable yarn, but whenever I mention its completion to somebody I get nervous about sounding like a pretentious douche and so I add, as a quick caveat, that none of these books have been published, and that it’s not for lack of trying (about 115 rejections, and counting), and I definitely don’t attribute their status to like the sweeping naivete of the publishing industry, or its corrupt commercial interest (which is a pretty depressingly rampant sentiment among struggling writers), but attribute it rather to the fact that, at 25, I’m not yet fully-formed as a writer or person, or that maybe I’m submitting the wrong kinda book at the wrong kinda time; some other intangible. Who knows.

Today, April 14, is the day after the first draft’s total typed & printed completion and since I’ve got the day off I’m out and about in South Miami, lowkey celebrating, and just tryna be level-headed about it. Thinking about the hundreds of hours I’ve put into the book so far and the hundreds more to come and I’m weighing all of that, inevitably, against the odds of its success. Knowing firsthand that winning an agent’s attention is extremely difficult, and that winning a publisher’s attention is even harder, and that winning an audience’s attention is basically impossible — there’s a part of me that’s really wary about putting in all the effort. The research, the cutting, the re-writing, the typing (I work in longhand), the querying — the weirdly huge amount of energy that goes into simply processing the rejections, emotionally.

horny nuns 2.jpg


I’ll end up mentioning here, in later essays, how my 25th year (which ends next week) has been pretty uneventful. I didn’t date that much or travel or really get tangled up in any drama save that which clings to my life by blood. But there was a lot going on internally, intellectually and otherwise, mostly having to do with a huge amount of non-fiction reading, way more than usual, that opened my eyes to certain realities of violence, mainly, but also just of simple, everyday, cataclysmic misfortune. That we’re always living a misstep away from death or paraplegia or paralysis. The idea that living human beings actually literally do sometimes slip on banana peels and then hit their heads and then cease to exist. I read a big book about the Columbine shooting that left me pretty vacant.

But an upside to all this is that, in writing fiction, I’ve reached some new conclusions about how it ought to be done. Like the purpose a novel should serve within the context of a very unpredictable life that, sure, can be rife with good little things but will always lead, by nature, toward the dark. Decided, finally, that my ideal audience is one of three people:

  1. the shaggy teenager who, while their teacher lectures, is only paying attention to the novel in his or her lap because there’s a funny and earnest voice to the prose that’s letting the kid feel like he/she isn’t part of a system, like he or she is here being personally addressed, told important things in a not-pedantic voice that sounds, I guess, like a friend at a bar.
  2. the person in a hospital room at a loved one’s bedside, feeling helpless, wanting to be distracted, stimulated and made to laugh, but who also to be in conversation with a writer who’s respectful of their situation’s gravity. A book with a buoyant and amusing mood but whose buoyancy is underscored with empathy.
  3. my friends Laz and Justin.

Maybe I can capture some of that here, in the Thousand movie Project. I’ll try.

Point is: I’ve got a lotta time on my hands now, now that the first draft of the novel’s done, and I plan to watch a lotta movies.

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2 comments

  • That is simply amazing! Not much more to say 😉 I admire your courage to show, what you have completed and to deal with the might-sound-like-a-douche fear. You have achieved something to be proud of. Own it. I do expect to see more updates on how things are progressing and maybe… just maybe… a little info on what the book is about 😉

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    • Thanks! Glad this doesn’t come off as melodramatic or douchey. The book is essentially about horny nuns, haha, we can leave it at that. So nice to have an encouraging voice out there in the ether 🙂

      Like

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