Remedial geography

{ Thursday, May 29, 2008 }

Seriously. I need one of those U.S. map puzzles. Or maybe some ginkgo biloba. "I'm driving to Minnesota on my next trip," says my spouse.

"What," I say, "Up through North Dakota?"

And there is an abrupt pause on the other end of the line before he tells me which state is actually between our house and Minnesota. And I hate it, because he's the person I most want to sound smart in front of.

I used to be concerned with sounding intelligent to readers. That's not so much the case now. Now I'm more concerned with sounding out something in readers - hitting whatever inside you is perceptive and raw. It's so much more satisfying to feel that echo come up from myself as a reader, to generate it and participate with the writer. I hope that happens with this fiction.

That's the concern. My fear, on the other hand, is that I'll be boring. Because these days I am pouring out exposition, reams of it, with faith that I'll be able eventually to compress it and create tiny pieces of text that plummet right to the reader's depths. But right now it's a mess. It feels sort of like I'm growing all the agave in Mexico to distill one glass of tequila.

Nobody knows whether it's even going to be good tequila. Right now it's a lot like this post - unable to find its way back from an alcohol metaphor to the bad-at-geography metaphor.

I could use a tutor.

So recommend one for me: What novelist or poet for you seems to know the way from here to there, without unproductive detours?

3 comments:

Compilador said...

You must read

"Live in the times of Cholera". beautiful Novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Really human, real, funny and full of hope.

Here is the Amazon's link if you live in the US

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Time-Cholera-Vintage-International/dp/0307387143/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212153315&sr=1-1

I recommend this book because I think the writer and the love described in the novel didn't try to look intelligent or logic in anyway. The style is so honest and simple that you'll love it.

Foodie said...

You don't have boring in you, my friend. Not a chance.

ann pai said...

Compilador! Excellent suggestion! I read this book a long time ago, and you're right, it's exactly what the tutor ordered. My book isn't in the same style (at all) but if anybody had to battle the problem of how to sort out what to include from too much possible material, it's somebody who wrote about a world where so many crazy things were possible!

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