While I’m making dull lists, here’s my top fifteen novels, in no order:
Harry Crews- All We Need of Hell
Jim Thompson- A Hell of a Woman
Richard Yates- Revolutionary Road
John Steinbeck- The Grapes of Wrath
Dostoevsky- Crime and Punishment
Hubert Selby- Last Exit to Brooklyn
Charles Bukowski- Ham on Rye
Denis Johnson- Jesus’ Son
F. Scott Fitzgerald- The Beautiful and Damned
Philip K. Dick- Ubik
George Gissing- New Grub Street
George Orwell- Keep the Aspidistra Flying
James Baldwin- Another Country
William Burroughs- Junkie
Truman Capote- In Cold Blood
It gives some sense of who I am. Most of the writers, except for two, are long since dead. I am a contemporary writer who doesn’t read very much contemporary fiction. This makes me feel wrong.
To tell the truth, I make these lists so someone typing William Burroughs in Google might come across my site.
At this point in my writing life, I am becoming more interested in getting read than actually writing. I’ve done a lot of unrequited writing in my time and it’s been pretty deeply discouraging. Contemporary Press, are you listening? You’ve had my novel for months. Bleak House Press? You have 50 pages, want more? Lately, I haven’t been feeling like a writer. Writing fiction into the wind feels pointless. Recently, all I have been writing is this blog. Everything is writing to a certain degree, and it’s somewhat satisfying, but still I feel guilt-ridden. It’s a sickness of the vain and ambitious.
I always felt somewhere deep that I would be a successful writer. I used to feel like I was part of the history of writing in a beautiful way. I wanted to be a giant. Really, who doesn’t. Success always felt like it was around the corner. I don’t know if this was delusion or what. Now I wonder if this was immature idealism. Success has yet to come and I am losing some faith. Some writer God is playing with me, wondering what will break me or make me stronger.
All hope is not lost, however. If it was, I wouldn’t even write this blog. I still feel some undercurrent of inevitability, however faint. I have to. I just can’t use it to justify bad behavior--arrogance, depression. I may have been getting a swelled head before my time. Enough humbling already--what’s the final lesson I have to learn before I become who I’ve wanted to be? Whatever the answer, I’ve been getting great comments on this site, including an offer to read at a book festival. This is progress.
- ► 2009 (65)
- ► 2008 (26)
- ► 2007 (56)
- ► 2006 (157)
- ► 2005 (201)
- ▼ September (17)