Literary Life

Saving Love

In the Bratislava rain

I’ve run out of work. All the old books (and even the two current, in-print, ones) are now available in eReader versions. The one remaining completed manuscript, “Blossom,” or, the Arkansas memoir novel, is with my agent and she has it floating around somewhere. I’m giving it a year to find an amiable print home, then I’ll digitalize and be done.

But it is impossible for me to have nothing to do, no story to tell, no writing to work on. So I had another look at “And it’s only love,” digging it up from its crypt in the dead novel box. I think I know what went wrong, how it acquired a terminal illness. It was misconceived from the start, its critical failure implanted within the seed of the original idea: that it would be a sequel to Possessed by Shadows. That was a singular story; Tom and Molly existed within that one story. It was artifice to impose a plot around them, hoping for a successful reincarnation.

Everything that failed in that novel failed from the original artifice.

Yet, there are large pieces of it that I love, that represent some of the best writing I’ve ever done. The “Tom” character was wrong and would never work, the plot he got stuck with was hackneyed. His lover, Danika, was, as I looked at her again, too dumb, too naive, too whimsical — in spite of her incredible beauty — to hold for long the attention of any man with half a mind, making the love story improbable, at least.

I am often fanatically attracted to an intensity of place (geography as ontology), and I am compelled to write about that place in particular — Bratislava and Slovakia.That is what works best in the novel. I just put the wrong people there, and put them into an artificial story.

Maybe I can fix that, and save the best of it.

That’s what I’m working on now.


7 replies »

  1. Looking forward to it, Don.

    I couldn’t wait and started The Last Island, btw. What a shocking beginning. Fantastic.

  2. My mother stopped reading at that point and never again read anything I wrote.

    I look forward to your impressions, especially all the stuff that takes place in your old stomping grounds.

  3. Looking forward to it!

    I still haven’t had a chance to read your e-books – I don’t have Kindle or an iPhone or iPad and have to get Kindle for Mac (I use a Mac book), and life has been a disorganized (gone jobless again, officially). But I definitely haven’t forgotten about it!

  4. I put the Kindle app on my Mac, but I don’t read anything with it. I just got it so I could see what my four books there look like. They look all right, but it’s sure not a book.

    I look forward to your impressions of my novels. The Asian view.