02.03.24 [on the J train]

i've had a run of really wonderful reads at the start of this year: turning into a shark, swapping bodies with your spouse, defeating conversion camps, it's all been lovely. speculative fiction makes me itch to write strange things, though not to write fiction—i have tried that a few times and everything about it feels wrong. which is lucky, really, as i then get to enjoy others' stuff with absolutely no skin in the game. on that, though, i had a funky twinge yesterday that is leading me to look into the possibility of writing a nonfiction book? it would not be a collection of essays, nor would it be a memoir; it would have a principal and lots of secondary subjects that are not me, and you would just smell me in the structure and language, or maybe, maybe i would lean a bit into a framework like the one in preparing the ghost, where the author talks about the first photographer of a giant squid and also, semi-related, about his own working out of an ice cream truck in chicago. i will probably spare posterity stories of my slinging health food in orange county, but maybe other glimpses could end up in there? more importantly, the prospective subject spent significant parts of her life close to new york city, so if i decide i really want to dig in on research—a copy of her out-of-print midlife memoir is on its way to me now*—i could make a lot of initial progress without shelling out for plane tickets or making myself vulnerable in, i don't know, residency applications or whatever. i am still not at all sure that writing and especially selling and marketing a book are things i truly want to do, but i know i want to read this memoir to see if i like the idea of spending a lot more time thinking about this woman, and that's something?

the owl pitch i mentioned last month landed, speaking of writing. it landed this past wednesday because my editor missed my email the first time and then had COVID, so the time-sensitive part of the story is spoiled, but i get to spend the rest of the month thinking about owls—for money, and that's the dream, really. yet another bird pitch flew out of me about a week ago, and before that another about a world war two pilot and candy, and if all of them hit, february is going to be a bit of a shit show—but perhaps it's time for me to develop the ability to juggle passion projects instead of packing them in the tissue of better-paid busy work. the ceramic flamingo i ordered after embracing a flamingo in the bahamas last fall was bubble-wrapped just beautifully, and it still arrived on our doorstep with a broken neck.

*ETA as i finally get around to uploading this written-on-the-subway post: it was getting weird that the memoir i mentioned hadn't arrived as of today, so i checked my alibris account and realized i hadn't succeeded in buying it. it's finally en route for realsies! since i'm updating, i can also now report that the other bird pitch also hit and i finally got a weird no about the pilot, like, monday, february 20th. i'm a little shocked at the rejection, as that pitch was really good, but juggling three semi-recreational stories this month would have broken me. i am at peace.

1 comment:

LPC said...

"the ceramic flamingo i ordered after embracing a flamingo in the bahamas last fall was bubble-wrapped just beautifully, and it still arrived on our doorstep with a broken neck."

For thoughts like this in words like this I hope the book does decide to be written.

I cannot imagine what candy stories are better than the pilot!