Thursday, December 18, 2008

Houston, your pages have landed

By post I received a card confirming receipt of my pages in the Big Apple, with a promise of response "within four weeks." My FedEx paranoia is resolved.

I'm finding every extra minute will come in handy. There's still much to improve throughout the manuscript, some chapters more than others, some characters especially, like the protagonist hold-over (re-named and re-cast) from the last version, who seems to have dragged all that book's flaws with him to the new story. I think within a week I'll feel marginally comfortable with the draft.

It didn't help reading James Woods' great re-review of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road in The New Yorker, where he writes of Yates' always-masterful dialogue:

...the same richly restrained prose, luxuriously lined but plain to the touch; the same anxious comedy; the same very cold, appraising eye; and the same superb ear for the foolish histrionics of speech. Out of the apparently diplomatic conformity of mid-twentieth-century American realism—the sort of style that made short stories commercially salable—bursts the monstrous ego of Yates’s male characters, smashing all the eggshell niceties. These men are vulnerable, easily provoked by female competition or resistance, and their theatrical, role-playing speech haplessly shrouds and reveals their anxieties, in clouds of unknowing.

Of course I thought, 'Oh shit, my dialogue isn't doing that!' I definitely should learn to shroud and reveal anxiety in clouds of unknowing before the next project.

Oh, and thanks to cool-mo Hoosier Poetess Micah Ling, whose first poetry collection, Thoughts on Myself, about the flyer Amelia Earhart, is now available for preorder from Micah helped me realize that the female pilot landing a seaplane at the fairground "amphibian airport" in Remedy Wheel not only could have been Earhart, but should have been. And so now she is.