Welcome back to the scary part.
I’ve got twelve chapters written plus an introduction likely to get scrapped if I can’t continue it with what I’m calling intermissions because I don’t know, why not. I have chapters 13-19 loosely planned but not yet executed because they are based on writing that happened way early and I’ve lost touch with it, but if this novel’s gonna have any structure whatsoever that’s the direction it’s got to go, although if I scrap the introduction and the intermissions which are seeming less and less relevant as the novel evolves, I don’t need that structure, I can just roll on in the semi-lucid character-based revelations that backdoor in the plot all sneaky like.
Problems continue to present themselves in the persona of David F. Wallace. Gretchen has a copy of Consider the Lobster, the essay collection, the essay of which I randomly picked out to read the other night dealt with Dostoyevsky, not his review of the author but his review of a book in a series of books analyzing the author’s entire literary body and career, and DFW’s casual I’m-not-an-expert analysis clearly showed his depth of understanding of Russian history and context and literature in general and the followup ability to grade a man’s life’s work of research and study on a single person come off as overly casual but overtly a display of DFW’s actual expertise in all things. Like how Justin Trudeau calmly summarized that quantum physics argument like it was nbd, offhand-like, oh by the way it’s not like I have a degree in the subject but my cursory glance is more than enough to for someone of my intellectual caliber to grasp the basics and separate the wheat from the chaff. Now I’m off to go be brilliant at something else. Peace.
I’m not that smart, and that is regrettable. But what can be done. Sheer effort, I guess. Like how LeBron was born with the genetically perfect NBA body and Steph Curry is like well I can still take ten thousand shots a day and just see how that goes.
Because okay. I’ve got 66 characters in my character names list so far, because the idea was to let the novel grow until it reached maximum world capacity, I wanted to build a world and I did that and I’ve got a timeline stretching from 1940 to 2014 and probably beyond since it’s taking me so long to finish a fucking complete draft of this thing and this world seems to necessitate the addressing of successive generations which if I am (and I am) thinking of Infinite Jest as if not a model than at least the germinating force behind my desire to build a world, he did invest in the development of at least one family’s predecessors, but then expanded more horizontally than vertically, all the action really revolved around two characters, Hal and fuck, the drug addict, whatsisname, Don? but mostly the backwards expansion came from the Incandenza clan and not Don Gately, that’s it I think, Don’s backstory involved a mother and a drunk stepdad or two I believe but Don was always there so it really didn’t flash back to before Don, whereas Hal’s dad had an elaborately detailed backstory that I believe even touched on his childhood briefly before focusing a lot of effort to flesh out his filmmaking career, much of which occurred before there was a Hal, who granted is only a teenager but still, generational work being done.
Meanwhile I’ve got what, four five six primary generation characters whose horizontal world have received treatment in the first section of the book and the next section was to be the backing up, hold up let’s shift this puppy into reverse, Gil’s parents don’t get much because they’re dull and he’s got a broad horizontal world in any case and Denise doesn’t have much of a world at all and her parents probably still have to remind themselves they even have a daughter half the time and Denise herself doesn’t have much room to go horizontally either which is why everything is like a sparkling new experience to her, but Mookie and Marissa and Sally and Rex and Vinnie-Frank all have a dynamite slice of verticality of reveal, especially Sally who has heretofore been a nonactive participant in this play, even less than Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens, who at least got some facetime there at the end while my Sally hasn’t so much as farted off stage yet.
I need a plan of attack.
I mean that was the intention of partitioning out some definite chapters to write. I have to start there, I guess. What’s daunting about that is, again, much of this was written in the twilight of 2013 and it was stream of consciousness trying to keep up with the big bang of this universe and so it’s poorly sorted, my notes, all of my notes are in one document and that’s now at 276 single-spaced pages involving 175,000 words which admittedly involves some rewrites and deleted material somewhere around page 150 when I had to actual turn this puppy in as a thesis project. Which means I’ve now added well over a hundred pages of writing on top of and afterward since the massive editing and honing-down process that was the thesis, which came AFTER I wrote the basis for the part I want to write next. That kind of finality, the submission, the defense, the celebration and the anxiety and the acute perusal word-by until it’s as clean and sterile as a newborn’s first piss, that has a way of presenting itself as a sort of mentally insurmountable chasm when you’re trying to go back and access what came before.
So I have two options then, I guess. Either just get started on the actual writing of the actual chapters which actually seemed at one point to be the inevitable next step. Or. Commence with the sort-and-file organization of Great Big Document into perhaps several mini-documents which at very least group all of the scattered nonsense into a sort of more condensed nonsense. Sally stuff all in one place. Mookie stuff all in one place. Of course the problem there is that a lot of Mookie stuff is actually Mookie and Gil stuff, and what if I put a lot of work into the Gil document that I like for what it’s doing with Mookie, do I copy and paste, do I move it, I’m not saying I’m afraid of misplacing it so much as I don’t want to do work on one scene, then spend a lot of time somewhere else and then when it’s time to come back to that scene I look for it in the wrong place and my faulty memory says oh you didn’t actually write all that you just thought about it a lot while you were trying to sleep, which means I try to recreate from memory which is always a recipe for disaster and that’s the version I go with because I completely forgot I already wrote it right the first time.
Sheeee-it. Brother needs some post-it notes or something up in here.
Let’s end on an encouraging note, then, what do you say. If you’re still with me. At least I’m not ignoring it anymore. I may not have entered the house yet, but I’m peering in the window.