My year in review post will be coming shortly, so I’ll try to keep this brief. The month was more or less uneventful, so brevity shouldn’t come too painfully.
-I finished the second revision of my novel late in December. The book should be in something close to its final shape now, as this cycle included half a dozen rewrites of chapters and sections (plus a couple new chapters) that I hope don’t need to be completely rewritten again. I guess I’ll see if this holds up under the next reading-revision cycle. Assuming I can fit in five work days a week, it takes about a month to revise the whole novel. They key will be getting that time down a little bit. If there’s less and less that needs changed, I should be on the right track.
–The Kenyon Review‘s December newsletter featured reading recommendations from contributor’s and staff, including my recommendation of Yannick Murphy’s The Call. It’s such a good book! Go buy it now!
-The new issue of Confrontation was reviewed on BookFox. Here’s a little of what was said about the issue:
Paul Zimerman’s “Full Remittance,” a kind of anti-Rakolnikovian story, is excellent, as well as a shortish story by Theodore Wheeler with the titillating title of “The First Night of My Down-and-Out Sex Life,” which ends up being more somber than you’d expect.
-With the help of some friendly archivists, I was able to track down a bunch of information about the different places Tom Dennison used to live in Omaha. I wrote a bit about it here. In the coming months I’ll have more on the real historical places that are featured in my novel.
-My first real author interview was published on the Prairie Schooner blog. Thanks to Nuala Ní Chonchúir for her generosity and fine responses.
-Happy New Year!
Dispatch from The Uninitiated
“Tom Dennison grinned at me again, like I was being stupid. And I was being a little simple about the election. What I’d described is how it always works in this business, yeah? It’s always a matter of offering more than the other guys and making sure you manage things well enough to get your folks to a poll on time. It was still new to me, and it’s all novel to a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
Personal Rejection Notes, Requests for More, and Other Nice Versions of No Thanks
Iowa Review for “Forget Me” and Crazyhorse for “Attend the Way.”
A Flag for Sunrise by Robert Stone. I love reading books like this—ones that must have been incredibly timely and topical at the time of their publication, and are still great reads even if they aren’t so relevant now. This is a very engrossing novel that shows through a split narrative how an attempted revolution in a banana republic comes together. (There are some sexual escapades with a hot nun too, fyi.) Also, I’ll be part of a workshop led by Robert Stone at the upcoming Key West Literary Seminar. So excited for this.
Omaha: A Guide to the City and Environs compiled by the Federal Writers’ Project. This is so great: the WPA funded study of Omaha from the Depression. Not only does it feature the most complete and concise history of the area I’ve found, there are fantastic gems throughout, like how much beans and coffee cost at a cafe at the time, and how much streetcar fare to the airport was, or where to find the best Chow Mein. There are also a half-dozen walking tours guides of the city, which is really very helpful in understanding how the city was laid out during this period. I was very geeked to find this.
Bohemian Girl by Terese Svoboda.
The Third Reich by Roberto Bolaño.
2 thoughts on “December in Review (2011)”
Congrats on the novel rewrites. It’s daunting work. I have to tackle mine and I am already procrastinating. Sigh.
And thanks for the interview – great questions. Looking forward to meeting you in February.
Yes, and thanks, Nuala. I’m looking forward to meeting you too. It sounds like a fun couple days.