Wednesday, March 24, 2010

27 days to go, and what have I got to show?

Even with Clover’s legal bills & new car,
we’re richer coming out than going in, but am I wiser?
Spiritualler? A better man? A bigger idiot than ever?
The American people deserve to know if their flagpole-sitter
is an idiot. Who but an idiot would declare that he’s not an idiot?

Was the blowjob spiritual? It did save my sanity
to have gotten it when I found out about her & Sam.
Forgive me, Clover, for I forgive you. Oh, lie! Whale lie!
Well, I want to forgive you.

My insides are a ghost ship on the sea of what’s happened.

"They endured," Faulkner said. Endurance is 95% of wisdom.
Endure long enough and you’re bound to discover something small
(because everything big is in ruins), something simple, hiding
in plain sight, something you’ve known forever and keep forgetting,
because it’s small & strong & hiding in so big & ruined a world.

I shoulda coulda written a book while I was up. Instead of thousands
of silly, pompous, sullen little chicken scratchings.

I do feel sometimes like a monk on a snowy mountain.
I look down, nothing is near; look up, all is hidden.

I see Nate, Clover & me sitting in a nice living room in the future
-—sunshine streaming in, reading the paper, feet up, windows open
wide, enjoying the view, a veil playing like jazz over everything,
woven of mystery and sorrow. God, help us learn to love in the midst
of the storms that tear us & the world limb from limb.

Only 3 other sitters still up, says Clover. Only one in sight
is the old woman where Kerridge was. The rest stand empty.
Ghost platforms.

The numbers had dwindled to 20 or so, then an itty bitty earthquake
hit in the middle of the night. There’ve been plenty little shakers,
you get used to ‘em, ride ‘em out, but this was bad enough for Clover
& I to call and see if we were okay. Most of the pretenders panicked
& scurried down. I laughed & laughed, with compassion.

At first I suspected the old woman was Kerridge himself in a wig
and dress, or some other psycho he’d hired. Except he doesn’t have
two nickels to rub together, and—-I called to make sure—-he’s still
in Vistaview.

I wish I could make out the titles of the books the old woman reads.
Wonder if she wonders what I’m reading. The "Kafka" on the cover
is pretty big, but if she’s got binos I’ve never seen them.
Neither have I seen her on a phone. She meditates, plus yoga
& that slow-motion karate. Accoutrements-wise, she’s got the bare
bones. She’s up there in years, though sometimes appears younger,
which could be merely the way the light keeps changing the details
of everything all the time up here.

I was wondering if maybe she could be some kind of an actual nun
or monkess or something, on sabbatical perhaps.

She has three outfits—big capes or bathrobes or something—-one black,
one white, one red. And big hats to match. Too stylish for my taste.
It subverts her austerity. Sometimes she lugs around a picnic basket.
It tipped over one time and I swear it looked like she had chains
in there, like big chains, anchor chains. Which means she’s crazy.

She has yet to acknowledge my presence. At this distance, of course,
she could be slyly eyeing me all day. Is it possible she doesn’t
realize that I’m here, that I’m the one responsible
for the genesis of it all?

I’ve never even see her eat, much less ablutions, etc.
I’m not watching her 24 hours a day, & there are ways to do things
up here that defy perception. One thing irks me—-Curly deserted
me for her. He drops in here, spends five seconds, flies straight to
her and hangs out. She must have better peanuts.

Clover said she hadn’t heard anything about the woman. The media’s
dropped the craze like a dirty sock.

There’s a crisis in the Middle East.

Nate’s acquired ambition, studying, getting A’s, thinking for himself,
even found a friend, some sort of entrepreneurial type, I gather from Clover.

Clover’s actually getting it together in AA. We talk every day.

I’ve got a few more gray hairs. White. I kind of like it. I earned ‘em.
From The Flagpole-Sitter of Western Avenue.

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Kerri said...

Oh, I love this, Richard. Are you still editing it? Last I heard, you were changing up the POV in places. The voice is just so compelling and funny.

Richard Martin.... said...

Thanks, Kerri, you made my day. Yeah, I changed it to mainly the guy on the flagpole's first person pov (including a number of diary entries), plus individual chapters of others on the ground, mainly his wife & son, first person. Then a few that are third person, for distance. I like it. I label in parentheses (Joe) the person whose pov it is at the start of the chapter. Plus, ahem, I've cut 50,000 words. I'm on the last (yeah, sure) run-through.

Kerri said...

Wow, 50,000 words! And I was impressed with myself for cutting 3,000 from my manuscript. Good job. The POV shifts sound interesting. Will it go out on submission after this run-through?

Richard Martin.... said...

Well, it started at around 180,000!

I'm thinking Mixed Animal has got to be allowed to do its thing first.

Did a little birdy tell me you had finished your novel & were about to send it forth?

Kerri said...

But still, 50,000 words. I bet there was a lot you loved that you ended up cutting. I was so tentative editing the first few times through - just cleaning up sentences, fleshing some scenes out, trimming a little here and there. Now I'm almost done with a final (for now) edit where I restructured whole sections, eliminated entire characters and subplots to keep things moving. It was scary but really exhilarating and yes, I'm planning to send it forth soon.

Can you say anything about the release of Mixed Animal? I wasn't sure what's going on.

Richard Martin.... said...

Ah, Mixed Animal. If I only knew. It will happen, I am certain as a certainty of that sort can be, but I am now just beginning to understand the wisdom of negative capability. The experience has transcended my meager understanding. All I know is it is a trek that I have faith will turn back into some new form of the joy it once was.