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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Getting Fitted for the Straightjacket

Mark’s Warhol Quartet

I’m reading my novel from beginning to end … for the last time. It’s finished. It needs to be finished. Looking at the words are beginning to drive me crazy. Crazy.This last read is my chance to play with the language, add imagery and metaphor, if appropriate. To make the dialogue shimmer detail and possibility and character. I’ve already made lots of changes … little changes. This I expected. What I didn’t expect was how manic the process was to make me.

I’m at the upright desk, because now I need to pace. I tried sitting in a chair, but I’d need to be tied to the chair, or glued. This was supposed to be the time for happy resolution. Instead I am as doubtful as ever, a feeling that comes in waves, like the nausea of a newly minted drinker.

My consolation is that all the authors I respect (and so write for), go through this feeling during their last month with the manuscript. Philip Roth has doubts with every start and finish; Fitzgerald rewrote mightily all through publishers’ page proofs; Shakespeare rewrote lines for the stage on a given night, so we are to believe; Wilde cut one third of “The Importance of Being Earnest” in a few hours, and the producers loved it. These are my touchstones of sanity.


  andy wrote @ February 19th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Good luck with that lad. I look forward to the finished product!

  ClaireMargaret wrote @ March 3rd, 2009 at 2:23 am

Can’t wait to read it. How did you manage the cool selfportrait quad?

  Mark wrote @ March 3rd, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Self portrait is an “Andy Warhol” gimmick (a la Mao, Marilyn, and Mick) brought to Apple by its very fun Photo Booth.

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