A Stab at this Blogging Business

     It’s been 11 days since I’ve posted to The Blog. Part of the reason for this is I really have nothing to add about where I am in the process of publishing the new book. I’m pretty excited about it; I feel lucky as hell that it’s happening at all; I can’t wait for fall when it’s supposed to come out. But that all goes without saying, really. It’s tempting to invent something exciting, like, say, Joyce Carol Oates and George Saunders are going to blurb the novel, or The New Yorker is going to publish it serially over 20 issues, or, the Nobel Prize Committee is considering a special medal to bestow upon the sallow chest of yours truly because of my contributions to the literary firmament. But none of this is true. None. What’s really happening is that the proofreader is coming back and suggesting I add a few commas, take a few commas away, and capitalize “Internet.” But that’s it. Nothing else to say about this book. Thus, 11 blog-days of silence.
    But today it was pointed out to me that it’s my blog, and because of this, I don’t have to write about the novel at all. I can write about anything I want. I could discuss the bottlecap collection I’d amassed as a six-year-old in Pampa, Texas. (It could fill a small bathtub, and did.) I could write about my frustrations trying to understand Levi Strauss’s binary opposites. I could talk about the time I nearly electrocuted myself pushing a defective doorbell. I could pass on my two favorite quotations (“If there is anyone who owes everything to Bach, it is surely God,” and “Beware thinkers whose minds are fueled by a quotation;” both by Emil Cioran). I could complain about wreckers, mechanics, car salespeople, and everyone else in the extended auto industry, and curse them all for the injustices they have visited upon me over the years. I could express my horror and helplessness at the plastic loops of trash garroting creatures in the sea. I could tell you stories about being homeless in Boston in the 1980s, and the time the Guardian Angels beat me up and took my boots in Kenmore Square. I could tell you harrowing stories about friends doomed by mental illness. I have a good story about running a poker game in a sawmill. And another story about a book I had that was owned by a scientist who studied radioactivity in the 1930s. The book made Geiger counters clack and pop, really. Or I could tell you about writing a children’s book in five weeks, then editing it for four years. I could tell you about a short story I wrote about a young family who suffers a terrible tragedy, then wins a massive lottery, and how it was suggested that I expand the story into a novel, and how I listened to this counsel and took three years writing the thing. It’s a decent book, and it has characters I like, and others who are so loathsome that you root for their gory demise. The book is called The Splendid Ticket, and it’ll be out in the fall. All I have to do is obey the proofreader, and fix the commas. Then wait.

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