Tuesday, April 13, 2010

F i n i

So. I came home late last nite and decided to finish my novel, one, two, three. Couldn't. There were at least two hard parts I had to rewrite. One was the describing of a terrible fire. The other a description of the ole Willow Grove Amusement Park. My brain was tired. Go to sleep, it said.

When I awoke in the morning, I made a quick breakfast and sat down and began to play the piano. I mean, play the computer. Hitting the keys. And thinking. And arranging. And listening. And cocking my head. And thinking.

I was expecting one call from the mother of an out-of-control bipolar woman and dreaded the interruption. But kept the phone on the hook. She called after I'd finished the book.

In the third last chapter I got tears in my eyes. In the last chapter I got tears in my eyes. It seemed like someone else had written the book. Not me. I was separated from it by a good nite's sleep.

18 chapters. I emailed them to my teacher, then printed out a check to her for $100 and tucked it in the mailbox.

How do you celebrate finishing a novel? If you're me, you leave home and give your typing fingers a rest. Maybe you might kiss them for the great job they did. (I'm kissing them now. They're cold since I just came in from seeing a wonderful movie at the Huntingdon Valley Library where Mauricio Giammarco is the discussion leader. I'd follow him anywhere but I won't eat the cookies and cakes they put on the table. If they'd had polenta, yes, I'd've eaten that or a nice bowl of oatmeal.)

While finishing up my novel I barely had any food in the house. Was subsisting on, well, polenta and the last crusts of my homemade bread. Today I cooked. Bought a whole chicken and roasted it. Steamed collard greens for magnesium and calcium. Made noodles w/sauteed mushrooms and onions to serve with the juicy chicken.

It's nice to have food in the house again. Did you ever hear of a Jewish mother who has no food in the house? Even my main character, a middle-age Jewish woman named Mollie has food in her refrigerator. She's much fancier than I am, tho, and does place settings and all that at her table.

When you write a book, you learn what interests you. For example, I spend time describing the sounds made by a Ford pick-up. I seem to be obsessed with flowers and trees. I can't write about anything w/o describing what came before it, in other words, history of the land. I seem to like dialog. And diners. And dimly-lit rooms.

When the going got rough, I'd read the NY Times or go outside and pour clean water on the birdbath. Hop hop hop go the robins across my lawn. And listened to music while I tapped away. At the end I was sustained by an unobtrusive Miles Davis recording. I put my dead neighbor Charlie in it. Seated him in the barber chair at Daddypops' Diner. I've got his picture on my mantel piece. I don't actually have a mantel piece but a big old secretariat in my dining room which I use to put pictures of people I like.

On my living room wall I have the white envelope of a FedEx pkg in which my teacher sent me the original marked-up manuscript. It seemed too b'ful to throw away even tho they make park benches out of em.

Okay, see ya.


  1. It amazes me, how fast you move through each progression of your novel. I look forward to the day when I get to read it.

  2. you know what, bill? i woke up this morning and i didn't remember i'd finished a novel until you wrote your comment! what's that about? i think it's about the fact that like you, in your previous comment to me, have so much catching up to do so we won't fall further behind! now i'll make b'fast and read your latest post, my good man.