Friday, March 07, 2008

A deeper level than I thought


I'm reading through an excerpt of So Many Ways to Sleep Badly to publish in the next issue of make/shift, and I have this great moment at the end where I start sobbing because I'm actually so excited about it but why am I sobbing? Something about how it all feels so tight, finally, this novel that I've been working on for five or six years at this point I guess. But there's something else too, something about how it all feels so emotional and layered, raw and polished at the same time the way the words and feelings and politics and images and sounds and memories and more feelings push up against one another and it all builds and crashes at the same time. I guess I suddenly feel that beauty and it feels finished which is what I want because I've edited it so many times I mean this time I only think of making one change in the whole chapter -- so at least I know this chapter is done, or done for me. I'm still waiting for edits from City Lights.

But something else too because I'm writing about myself but I'm not, there are things I edit out that I would immediately put in an essay, sometimes things that I feel are too politically clear. Because so much fiction/prose that's considered "political" ends up being politics but nothing else I mean it imposes a certain kind of clarity that can exist in a flyer or a speech but it doesn't go deeper. With my novels the voice comes first and everything else after. I want clarity in moments but not explication I want people to read it the way they're going to read and not necessarily the way I intended it. That's one of the things that makes it an experiment, an experiment to see what I intended.

But then sometimes I have a complex about my novels, or this novel since it's the one I'm writing now. I mean I know that it's doing what I want with language and theme and rhythm but I worry I've compromised the politics somehow or that they don't come through because I've edited out the explication. I know that I needed to write this novel, but I worry it's not political in the same way as my other writing, my other editing, my anthologies. And it's not. Not in the same way. I guess I start crying because suddenly it does feel political in this intense emotional way and maybe I've succeeded on a deeper level than I thought.

3 comments:

grantatee said...

i'm glad you go to cry.

and im excited for you & the forthcoming novel

love,
grant

grantatee said...

oh, and what is this image? it kind of scares me...

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thanks, darling -- does the image scare you? I thought it was kind of beautiful, but let me look again -- maybe scary too... I'll show you the next time you come over my house...

Love --
mattilda