Friday, July 17, 2009

Someone's All High On The Smell Of Himself...

Drawn after Breenbergh's The Great Rock. Yeah, I remember when I could draw. Those days will come again, I swear it!

So I've mentioned in previous posts that you can track my moods by the frequency of my blog posts. Well, I've missed a couple of days and I want to say that I've been swell.

("There are only two American contributions to the English language, swell and lousy. I think swell is lousy but lousy is swell." I can't remember who wrote that.)

I have been revising like a ring-tailed son of a bitch, and in addition I've been putting the polishes on the new issue of Swill. I've got a preliminary printing and that wiggy new technique I developed for turning photos and scans into straight-up black and white art suitable for reproduction? It worked the way I hoped it would rather than the way I thought it would -- it generates finer detail than you can get by photographing pen and ink work. Virgil Finlay and Hannes Bok would have fucking gone nuts for this shit. (Not my pieces, the technique.)

I'm also thirteen chapters into the fourth draft of volume one of the novel and eight chapters into the fifth draft. It turns out that by working this way -- editing the third draft as fast as I can and then editing again based on writer's group critiques -- I'm starting to get a sense of the whole novel at one time. It's a very strange visceral sensation and one that is quite pleasing.

Got to say, I'm currently at the high point of the ego roller coaster. Right now I'm very happy with the novel. It doesn't slow down -- there is no sag. The dramatic arc isn't an arc -- it just goes up and up.

I've also undergone a recent jump in my prose skills.

(Just for the record, this blog is where I let it all hang out and get way funky -- this is the place for dashes and italics and parenthesis and vocabulary exercises and obscure references and typographical errors and run-on motherfucking sentences. My real prose is cool, taut, flexible, and lean, disciplined yet expressive, simple in form and complex in thought. Someday I'll write something in that prose...)

Anyway. In my crazed revision frenzy, I've found a new sensitivity to what readers need to read as compared to what I write. Part of this is because ol' Rob has been giving it to me hammer and tongs on the subject of passive voice, and I've been listening.

The other part of it is (and I really should be ashamed to say this) Twitter. I've taken to writing down my smart-ass remarks and then editing them until I can say what I mean in 140 characters or less. This has been an incredible exercise in learning how to write clearly, directly, and economically. (Again, don't judge my writing by the blog -- those three words are totally unconnected with what I do here.)

I dunno. Seems like the world is going to hell and my position in life is getting kind of precarious -- but creatively, I'm doing better than I ever have. Fuck it; I feel good and I'm going to enjoy it until I hit the downslope.

Sayonara, motherfuckers!

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