Hello, Failure

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Failure of the Day: Medical Memoirs

That is, of course, what I'm really writing, even though it is helpful to me to consider it and write it as a novel; there are just more options that way.

I still don't have a title, although I feel like I am closing in on something that I feel will be right. I recently did an Amazon search on medical memoirs and disease novels, and I found plenty. I also found great examples of what I don't want to do. For example, the titles are usually too cute by half and use a metaphor that involves the afflicted body part: "A Change of Heart" for a book about a woman who got a heart transplant; "At Face Value" for a book about a guy with a facial disfigurement; "A Stroke of Genius" for a book about a guy who had a stroke. And other than being, y'know, stupid and obvious, what part would I choose? Brain? Skin? Ovaries? Thyroid gland? Lungs? Plus I already called my first chapbook "Bodies of Work" (and now I'm just showing off).

Anyway, I am now 2/3rds of the way through the second draft. It won't be long now. There's a thing I'm missing, I know. Some detail that needs to be added that I've overlooked. I don't know exactly what it is yet, but I think I'll figure it out. As I was lying on the floor in my room with a terrific backache this weekend, I felt the book, my book, in the air all around me. And it seeemd to me that I was living in the book, and at the same time as I was enjoying how cool that was, feeling like this is what real novelists must feel, it was kind of ridiculous because in point of fact, I am living in my book. It's a memoir, for chrissakes. Only it's kind of not, also, so I decided to go with the whole "coolness" part and not the "ridiculousness" part of the feeling.


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