Been up relatively early today. I’ve been transcribing from the yellow tablets of last year to the screen. It’s been a process, really, because things written by hand are almost always compromised for the digital document. Quotes become narrative, fat gets trimmed, characters get more chiseled. I have said before that all the time I wrote by hand last year, about 4 months in total, had rekindled my fire for description, without going fucking overboard. Addition through subtraction is a natural formula (in the purest sense of that word) as we age with our work, but so is bringing things up to the surface that were otherwise left forgotten. 99 percent of the time, I write straight from my head to the keys, it’s been that way since I first sat behind a typewriter. I remember getting my first monitor and worrying that the work would suffer because of the ease and efficiency of the computer, the virtually noiseless keys, the removal of the paper stimulus; ripping away and replacing the page around the platen, the roll of the paper through the machine by a trained hand on a knob… Funny now, looking back, that I never hesitated when it came from ditching the journal and going to a typewriter. I think it was more of a romance then, the loud electric or the occasional long plunge of the manual keyboard. Even switching from a desktop to a laptop keyboard was and is strange, there is still that weird adjustment. But habits are fast reborn. Though I don’t see myself writing by hand in the future, at least not for lengthy novels, I am glad that I did it for this book here, Flotsam for Jetsam. Not sure when it’s getting released, because I am having a good time with it, actually SAVORING the adaptation from tablet to screen with the life of the narrative and the bright light of these characters. I was lucky to have stumbled upon them in my brain.
Excerpt from Flotsam for Jetsam:
The ocean was there, like a guitar, an acoustic. The guitar will never be mastered because there are too many placements to count, too many combinations. It’s infinite to us in that regard. But it can’t be infinite because the surface isn’t infinite, just like any life form in contrast with the ocean. But the gull or the fish or any other being but human doesn’t even consider it. It’s a perfect example of art and war. Christine’s left hand found my right leg. I watched her ring peripherally, while the wine went to work and three gulls crossed the face of the sun. Cars passed us. It was good to be on the inside of a limo for once. Lionel re-lit the joint and handed it over to me. Christine took a hit at the last minute. “Great,” Angelica laughed, “Now they’re going to be laughing at every fucking face that they see.” Lionel leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees, “That’s the whole goddamned point.” She smiled and ran her hand across his back. Billy and Amanda were quiet. They probably hadn’t been high since the 80s. I felt stress from Christine. I rubbed her hand, “If he’s there, I’ll be gracious, mama.” She kissed my hand, “Thanks, papi.” Lionel nodded at me, “Who? Alan?” “Oh, that fucker’s getting some of my action. But I meant her ex. Juke Box Hero.” Amanda laughed into her glass. The sun and sky were metal orange above the dark surf. It occurred to me what a long shot I was.