Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Monday, March 24, 2003

Failure of the Day: Prose

I suppose it means that I've re-established myself in SF officially: all of a sudden, I have a reading next week. Saw Tarin at Jeff McDaniel yesterday, and she booked me at her gig next week. Which is lovely and I appreciate the props and all, but I've written a grand total of 4 poems in the last 3 years. (In my defense, I've also written a novel.) I'll be reading with her and Beth Lisick, which means they will be busy demonstrating with how ironic and clever they can be (and they can be VERY ironic and clever) while I will be sober and ennunciating. I'm good at being sober and ennunciating, I know, but I fear it doesn't pack quite the entertainment punch. Not such a fine line between literature and show biz, it turns out. I'm about 90% comfortable with which side of that line I fall on, usually, but I imagine I'll spend much of the next week living in that other 10%.

The upside is that the prospect of reading some part of my novel to an audience has brought what needs to be fixed in my novel into sharp relief. I read a couple chapters out loud to myself last night, and after a couple of weeks of thinking it was largely OK, the problems became plain as day. This is a good thing. After all, you can fix it if you don't know what's wrong. The other upside is that this will do an admirable job of distracting me from my week of corporate widowhood. Odd are, I'll read the first chapter at the show, and I've got a butt load of work to do to bring it up to some sort of second draft snuff. But after seeing Jeff (and Jan Richmond, the poet/novelist who read with him yesterday), I've got inspiration coming out of my ass. And that's pretty much why I missed San Francisco to begin with (kung pao chicken notwithstanding): there are people here whose writing is good, and it raises the bar for me. Now, I've only to meet it.


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