“And these different windows that opened in my head, when I grope again among those days, really existed perhaps and perhaps do still, in spite of my being no longer there, I mean there looking at them, opening them and shutting them, or crouched in a corner of the room marveling at the things they framed.”
Samuel Beckett, Molloy
Collection of Early Author Progress & Struggles
from the book's preface:
The rear, shit-smeared, its revulsion holy in that I once gobbled, filled my cheek pouches, and scurried about with ambitions, pride, and a frosted palate. For too long I’d dug in, scalpel revision, a mushy greeting from the sausage, and my gut twists – years on and resigned to bury the chunks, scour all the remains and have white pages, save for the desperate nights when one fears that all passed is such and am in need of comparative samples.
Early on, when you’ve written very little, all the bits and pieces are imagined to be meaningful and eventually salvageable/serviceable to various finished forms that will all stand as canon.
In 1997 Radecki and I attended a lecture by Kurt Vonnegut, who’d had a drinking day and swiveled the top of the lectern on its base as a pivot or bearing arm, addressing the writers he presumed were lurking among the audience. Having written just enough to posture myself as such, I listened to the suggestions and found them immediately identifiable: stop explaining why your characters are the way they are, destroy the first few chapters of any extended narrative to save the story from all the explanation/exposition you’ve heavy-handedly front-loaded in...
But Vonnegut’s most disheartening suggestion was a truth that came cleaving through the neatly filed copies of my writing I was saving and printing off weekly to preserve nearly inconsequential revisions and additions - “we all have a thousand pages to write before we get to our good stuff.”
As I worked through writing books three and four of ...fence posts rotting in the acreage... I'd imagined even these early failings could be folded in with prolonged and pained contextualization efforts. But every attempt to include these pieces confirmed they were rightly excised for inaccuracy, inauthenticity, fragmentation, boredom, and loneliness abated as other nearby spans of artifacts ignited or plummeted, thriving.
Hundreds of pages in journals, pocket notebooks, flip-sides of stray paper, and printed word processor documents were shredded or pulped by my hands irate, stymied, and burning. These survive, fermenting, of value now as early plotting points for possible appreciation among niche audiences to come - especially intended for those who resonate with any writer's later works and unintentionally stay their own hand in such efforts. These early artifacts are fodder for contempt and easy ridicule but may burn for our nightly work, for us to set out.
...fence posts rotting in the acreage...
Collection of Short Stories with Visual Accompaniment
book 1 revision in progress, available on Kindle in 2023