Regular visitors to this taste of paradise know that I’ve been plugging away at a novel for some time now. I’ve never written a novel before. I have no idea how to go about writing a novel. For lack of a better strategy, I’m making it up as I go along.
I’ve been writing much like I paint, putting down ideas, trying them on for size, tossing them away, trying again, writing and rewriting and writing and rewriting, changing direction in mid-stream, writing and rewriting again. I read somewhere that Jack Kerouac wrote his On the Road manuscript in three weeks. Bastard.
I’ve been stalling, and partly my problem is that I know I need to make a significant plot shift. It’s something I had dreamed up early on but have been resisting. I’m convinced finally I need to stop messing around and make the change. There’s some other things too. I need to find a way to insert some background material into the story that feels like a natural part of the narrative and not like I’m inserting background material into the story. I have to establish some of the past of one of the characters. It sets the stage for the way the story unfolds later, but so far I’ve just ignored it as something to get around to when I get around to it. Finally, I need to work on the voice of the narrator more carefully. I know I’ve got the feel I want in parts of the manuscript but in others I think it isn’t quite there.
Next week, I’m taking a few days off work and my plan is to wade into this mess and try to sort some of it out. Meanwhile here’s a little wee taste…
You would think we were pop stars from all the fuss going on out there. Johnny stepped on stage followed by Mira. A few of the punkers, drunk, lobbed pierogi more or less in their direction. Johnny and Mira they just ducked out of the way. Me and Maggie followed and Staash hung back. I gave everyone a few seconds to get their gear in place and leaned into the mic.
“I just want to say that Beattie and Brydida worked hard making those pierogi. Please eat them…. One an two…” and we kicked into a long intro.
Staash appeared centre stage, picked up his Star Beauty and strapped it on. Only then did I see Sabina. She came from the other side, carrying a big cardboard box. Staash looked surprised. The band played on. Sabina put the box down on the floor, opened it up and pulled out an outrageous red and gold crown. She held it up to the audience before crowning Staashu King of the Concertina. He grinned and bent over a little to receive the gift and a kiss from Sabina, who turned and walked off the stage I didn’t find out until after the show she was leaving him.
Staash jumped in on concertina, pulling my accordion break to a close. Maggie and I moved up on either side of Staashu, Johnny slammed a symbol. The band stopped for a long second, and the three of us sang in unison, shouting the lyrics:
In Heaven there is no beer.