G at The Antigeist talks about how a short story of Twain's destroyed the faith of her husband's father, a man who had been to that point a missionary. I thought about similar experiences in my own life, where a story or a book or a movie made me make such a hard left that would have been impossible otherwise. I've been thinking a lot lately about family and kids and all that, and I was when I read Dorothy Alison's "River Of Names." When I put it down, I was decided: no kids for me. Like the main character of that story, I don't know if I'm willing to take the risk, passing on things I have no control over.
I had a similar experience when I read "The Hours" in Dublin. I didn't go "I want to be a long suffering lesbian!", but I had this epiphany where I realized it was ok for men to write these kinds of books; that they could be written, and I could write them. Not as well as Michael Cunningham, but I could give it a shot. And so amongst other things, I'm writing a book about long suffering lesbians. But they're dead. Kinda. It's complicated.
I'm taking the night off from writing since I feel like I'm just treading water. I put down the Angel Book (the long suffering, dead lesbians) to polish off the second book in the trilogy, and then I put all that down to prepare my submissions to the lit journals, which was a bit like readying a mass mailing for the campaign last year. At least I'm not calling anybody this time. Good lord, wouldn't that be something? "Hello, this is Darby Harn, a volunteer for Darby Harn For Literary Greatness, and I would like to know: who are you reading this November?"
It's just lots of enevelopes, stamps, paper cuts, and this glue taste in your mouth that just won't go away. It wasn't that many, really. I mailed out five today, in addition to some e-subs, and I'll probably do five more next week, since I've yet to send out the Aran Islands story. And then it's months of waiting.
Anyways, I need to get back into the head of the Angel Book, but I'm not going to rush it. I've been taking it real slow anyhow, since June, and that's helped a lot. The main thing this time around is just making sure it's a load bearing structure. There's a lot going on, and previous attempts have all collapsed under the weight of its own seriousness. Got to pass inspection this time.