April 12, 2010

Going somewhere, maybe

At the beginning of April I started taking a 250 word piece from March and adding 250 words to it. (The prospect of having 365 beginnings after a year was just too much.) That was okay. Unexciting, but okay. Some of the pieces I had written I didn’t remember at all. Then I decided I wanted to add a chapter to the Ann novel, so started doing that a bit a day, and I have got a chapter, though not one I am happy with yet. Still, it’s some of the way there, so I’ve put it into my novel ms. Then I moved into editing the next chapter, now chapter 4, and I’m really not happy with the whole novel. Not the story, I like the story a lot, it’s about the writing. I guess. I'm looking for a variation of my usual style, I think, but can't articulate it. I’ll keep gnawing away until something happens. The thing to not do, I tell myself, is stop trying, it's always easy to go on to other things, but I think the 250 words a day thing is showing me the benefits of keeping at it.

On the reading front, I am two-thirds of the way through Roberto BolaƱo’s 2666. A very unusual book in five parts and over 800 pages. I struggled in the middle to maintain interest, but Part 4 got me hooked back in. Strange, because Part 4 consists, not entirely, but mainly, of a detailed list of women who were raped and killed. No voyeurism, just facts, and names of policemen and a few other bits. A bit like a wordier Eliot Weinberger list (a lot wordier) it kind of builds up.

Previously read Hicksville, the graphic novel by Dylan Horrocks that has just been reissued by VUP. I read the original version from the Wellington Public Library. A comic about comics, at least in part. Also about New Zealand, and fitting in, or not, and a bunch of other things. There’s an art to ‘reading’ the visual part of graphic novels, which I don’t think I have quite got the hang of. Maybe I didn’t read enough comics as a child.

I have accumulated a great list of writers' blog, which I dip into now and then. Mostly they are interesting and well-written but they can become too much of a good thing. I get sick of them after a while. The best book blog I have found so far, because it is extremely varied (eg, includes notable pictures of books) and has really good writers is the New Yorker's book bench. Find it at:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/?xrai It will also lead you to the book club blog, where a noted author chooses a book to read and it gets talked about on the blog. This month it's Lorrie Moore's choice, which is David Vann's Legend of a Suicide, which I haven't read, but will.

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