1) What I Remember of My Love Affair with the Bird and Other Stories is on its way! It’s available for pre-order now; the book will be officially available starting on Friday.
I seem to only write updates here on this site semiannually these days, but I’ll write another post soon with more notes about the book and the lovely things some very smart people have had to say about it.
In the meantime, I also made a few updates to my publication history page. More on those changes, below.
2) A month ago, I finished writing the book I’ve been thinking of and referring to as The Years of Living Autobiographically: Book III. (Back in late March, I posted an excerpt: entries I’d written during the previous month, the month during which everything in the U.S. changed.)
Now my working titles for the three books are as follows. I’m worried that these may cross the line into affected and grandiose, but as of this writing, this is what I’m working with.
The Years of Living Autobiographically
Fly Away, Tiny Lazarus
To Be Alive Should Be Enough
An Origin Myth for the Stars
I feel like I have even less of an idea of how to pitch this than I did before. I imagine the final product looking something like One Hundred And Forty Five Stories In A Small Box, the beautiful box set of three story collections by Deb Olin Unferth, Sarah Manguso, and Dave Eggers. I imagine the books being right at home at a press that publishes “experimental books about death,” which is what this trilogy is, really. Or with a press that publishes, say, “work that extends or challenges the formal protocols of nonfiction.”
But since I haven’t found a book contest for Oulipian trilogies about death—not yet!—I’m guessing this will most likely come to fruition as a kind of secondary deal to the following:
3) I’m still looking for a home for Intercalated Days: A Novel. I’m still sending queries to agents, and as I wrote on my publication credits page, I’m also now querying small presses, and I’ve entered the novel in book contests.
4) Unrelated to writing news: the picture above is the afternoon sun falling on a nineteenth-century painting, lighting up a detail of the landscape; the structure caught in the light is a mill. The shape of the light, to my eye, looks like a speech bubble. Which feels like a metaphor for writing, or any new creative undertaking? In the sense that everything we do contains echoes of and indebtedness to everything that has come before. (Jean Rhys: “All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. And there are trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.”)
5) Also unrelated—except that it’s related to everything in America, all the horrific and deadly unfairness and institutionalized cruelty and endemic sexism and racism, and also the nihilistic death cult that threatens to drag us all down with it in its petty, suicidal, revanchist fever dreams—is the Electoral College, the worst Confederate monument of them all. It should be abolished. (Previous notes on this subject on this site, over the past two decades: “The Electoral College!” from 12/4/2000, right before the disastrous Bush v. Gore decision, a short film which may or may not still be visible; “Possible Outcomes,” from 10/14/2004, a kind of speculative utopian fiction of how we might escape two never-ending wars, then both still so young; “13 December 2004; or, A Few Things I Know About the Electoral College from Reading Books,” which I posted 11/11/2004, and which is comprised of the things I could remember from the research I did to write the script to “The Electoral College!” video; “The Truth About the Electoral College,” which includes that script, and another attempt at making the Flash Player thing work. Sort of related, I guess, as one more speculative-comedic progressive-realpolitik fiction: “I’m with Senator Coco.” Back when we had some sense of how outlandish and combative American right-wing politics were becoming—the intellectual/strategic spawn of Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich—but we still had no idea (or at least, I still had no idea) how bad things would eventually become.