Wednesday, August 22, 2012
It took me a while to find my next book. The one that is to come after Dr. Radway's Sarsaparilla Resolvent (New City Community Press/Temple University Press/March 2013), Handling the Truth (Gotham/August 2013), and the Berlin novel (Phliomel/Winter 2014). It had occurred to me that I might have said everything I ever had to say. That I had shadowed all the characters, or ideas, or places, that could ever mean something deeply real to me.
And so I read—not to find a next book for my beloved editor, Tamra Tuller, but to satisfy hollow places within. I wrote essays—short pieces about landscapes and people, inquiries into the art of literature or the state of young adult tales, profiles of writers whose work intrigues me, reviews of new and forthcoming books. I planned road trips (south, this coming September) and dreamed of returning to Europe. I listened to Springsteen songs until even I knew it was time to stop. I watched documentary films. I cooked. I went to two different beaches on two different days. I tried not to ask myself, What? Next?
Still, what next crept in, slow, on a sideways angle. It arrived via old memories, new readings, and an urge to take five paragraphs that I wrote a dozen or so years ago and turn them into the start of something new. What next beat its feverish wings at me. I began to buy books, to take notes.
I'm in no hurry. I've written nothing that I'll keep. I'm just thinking about all of this, sure of this one thing: the center of this idea holds and I want to write the heck out of it for Tamra. I have time before the idea becomes a project becomes a deadline. I have time, but I also have (incredible, necessary) a new and urgent passion.