It’s a new year, so I figured I’d show up on here for once and talk about what’s up. It’s been awhile since I last wrote a post, back in November right after the Writers’ Trust Gala, and there isn’t really all that much new stuff to report but I’ll give it a go anyway.
I finished my second novel on November 8th and sent it off to my agent, Meggie Macdonald. And, after a couple of weeks of tinkering with it, we got it to where we wanted it to be and she started getting it ready for submission. The best part of my Journey Prize experience was meeting with other writers, editors, and publishers, and other people involved in promoting Canadian literature, and Meggie made sure to get the manuscript off to those editors that I spoke with and who didn’t think I was a complete dickhead.
The title of the novel is “Songs at the Dying of the Day,” which was taken from a line in the latter half of the novel and suggested by Meggie Mac herself. I am not awesome at titling things, unless something strikes my fancy as I write a story or book. I had this novel under the title “Work” because that is what I called the segment of it that was published in an American online literary crime fiction journal called Noir Nation. But I think her suggestion suits the novel, even if I forgot I wrote that title in a line of the book. But give me a fucking break. There are lots of lines in there.
All in all, the new book is with a couple dozen editors at publishing houses in Canada and the US, and Meggie tells me that she thinks it will “ruin people.” That’s what I wanted to hear. I know that a manuscript always has its flaws, and I’m sure I could do some work to make this fucker really shine, but I’ve read what’s out there and I know where this one should stack up. It is better than the last novel I wrote, which was pretty good but never found a home. I think it is about shit that really matters, and I would put the writing itself up against most other authors and take my lumps if I was wrong. Nonetheless, I’ve been through this process before and I know how the game is played, so we got our fingers crossed and in the meantime I’m just gonna keep writing, keep working on some new short stories, and wait to see which way my life is gonna go this year.
I’ve already got some early rejections. Which are hilarious as always. It’s hard to listen to someone tell you they think you are a significant writer or that you write as well as anybody out there and then they tell you they can’t take a shot at it. But, in the end, you gotta have faith in the quality of the work. If you know it is good, and the right people know it is good, and worth publishing, you have to believe somewhere in your heart that everyone who rejects it is a dumbass and that they will one day regret passing on it. They likely aren’t and the probably wont, but, in my experience, that is the kind of assholery you need to master, at least in your own brain, in your “me” time after you read about your rejections, if you ever hope to have the fortitude to make a living at this trade.
To do that properly you do need to have a couple of people you trust who will tell you what sucks and what doesn’t, and you need to listen to them, but that is something I’m lucky to have had for a while now. Which is why I’m so belligerent, and why I don’t just quit this whole deal and start a life of crime.
If anything breaks with this novel it will likely happen pretty soon in this new year. Either way, I will let the twelve people who have ever looked at this site know about it. And I’ll even tell some people in person, as we used to do it the old days. Until then I’ve got some new stories on the go. I got some of my notes and plans up there in the picture above this post, and those notes are from the end of one story I’m working on and another one that has been a long time coming. Ever since my prairie odyssey from 2005-2010. I’ve learned in my time that the best thing to do when waiting on a response to your writing is to write a bunch more shit and send it out. So that it is the plan. I just gotta get a handle on my shite job and manage my beer time and Muay Thai time. Then I’ll have a few more stories out there in the world.
Thanks for reading up on my junk and thanks for the support, and thanks to all the poor souls who met me last year through the Journey Prize/Writers’ Trust events and made the hilarious mistake of following me on twitter and/or investigating my other writing.
Take care all, and happy new year.