Sarah Wrote That

A good October for maples—it must have been. I did not think: next October will be faded.I thought: this is October in this town.Kitchen staff skateboarded the two a.m. parking spotsof the restaurant that would be sued out of the next year.My friend had so much furniture (she admitted)that she had not vacuumed since moving in.Only happy sounds rang up the pipesfrom the apartment she would vacate by springI was already planning poorly for,in a red chair on a Friday with no parties,taking a mood for an era.

A good October for maples—it must have been.
I did not think: next October will be faded.
I thought: this is October in this town.
Kitchen staff skateboarded the two a.m. parking spots
of the restaurant that would be sued out of the next year.
My friend had so much furniture (she admitted)
that she had not vacuumed since moving in.
Only happy sounds rang up the pipes
from the apartment she would vacate by spring
I was already planning poorly for,
in a red chair on a Friday with no parties,
taking a mood for an era.

Wires dip along the road home from summers in which I traveled more. (Syntax—the code to the soul, or a code to a soul in a September mood. The paragraph ends with the time machine diagrammed, good for a few uses before it seems a formula: noun + verb + adverbial phrase(s) + adverbial phrase with temporally slipped modifier.)

I have been letting revision take all the attention I can shift to it. The command line program top (run, where else, in the Mac terminal setting named ‘novel’) would show one process spawning multiple threads, other processes stuck or sleeping, network down, little time idle.

This past weekend I moved the last of the chapters drawn from my MFA thesis out of my ‘current’ folder. Not done. But settled for now. I’m happy with them, happy to think mostly about chapters with fewer drafts behind them. Along with relief and the unfamiliar pleasure of reading them without wanting to noodle (much), I have a strangely solid, entirely erroneous sense of the ‘finished’ sections as finally approaching what I wanted all along. Maybe they do, in the roughest outline of an arc. The first draft was a mess, the second tidier about its false starts and thin relationships and leaden scenes, the third a muddle of logistics. How I believed in those mistakes.

I have become much more patient with, interested in events not only as engines or catalysts for fictional motion but as solids texturing the pages they’re on, and reverberating, no day only itself.

In Burger’s Daughter Nadine Gordimer signals the novel’s final direction not with Rosa Burger’s decision (that comes later, reasoned in retrospect), but by, in four words, shifting the time from which the narration comes. Rosa has a late night phone argument with her adopted brother:

Because Rosa Burger had once cried for joy she came out of the bathroom and stalked about the flat, turning on all the lights as she went, sobbing and clenching her jaw, ugly, soiled, stuffing her fist in her mouth. She slept until the middle of the next day: it was another perfect noon. This spell of weather continued for some short time yet. So for Rosa Burger England will always be like that; tiers of shade all down the sunny street…

“Some short time yet”—what a heart breaker. Because we know, from previous events, what the rest of the time will be.

This afternoon, a Cooper’s hawk landed in the grass below my kitchen window; eyed my direction, and then the rocks where chipmunks scamper, flew to a pine branch, and off through the lower branches—two minutes, by my Exif data, from landing to takeoff, everything abrupt, and done with incredible ease and precision, and no interest in anything that wasn’t lunch.

Novel revisions. I’ve been thinking about the photo of half-finished Grand Central Terminal that was recently on the Tumblr radar, the façade already clad in stone, the lower tracks and platforms and the loop for trains to turn around on still exposed, and how the terminal’s circulatory system justified the expense, indeed the existence of the façade and concourse. The second half of my manuscript is color-coded with edits, mine in red, my thesis committee’s in blue and green, but it’s looking over the first half where the tracks are covered over, the new text unmarked, that I fret: does it work?

Read on →
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Storm after storm today.

Storm after storm today.

kateoplis:

5th Ave, 1905

So awesome. For once, the Flatiron from the South, Madison Square Park angling in above it. Kind of feel I lost some sort of cred, how long I took to recognize it.

kateoplis:

5th Ave, 1905

So awesome. For once, the Flatiron from the South, Madison Square Park angling in above it. Kind of feel I lost some sort of cred, how long I took to recognize it.