I haven’t blogged here in almost a month. That’s pretty pathetic. I have about a hundred unanswered emails, and that’s not a testament to my popularity but to my inability to foster any sort of life these past few weeks. I’ve yet to respond to invites to literary events long past (yo, Michael S), shows (hey, Josh LaM), and drinks (Adri!). It’s not that I’ve been doing anything exciting, per se. I’ve been living underground.
In the last few weeks, I’ve been entirely enveloped in Jacob Wrestling, coming up for air only to head to my day job, read submissions for The Los Angeles Review, and do housework. I’ve been entering that dark headspace seven days a week, trying to get the novel manuscript “ready” in a sense that doesn’t involve quotation marks. I’m hoping for good things, but bathing myself in ugly, conflicted things pretty darn regularly. And I’m so very tired.
It was in this spirit that I came across this article in The Review Review (which recently gave LAR a very kind treatment). Becky’s piece pretty much articulated things I feel a lot of writers might be scared to say, especially insofar as we question, but fear to consider, whether life might be easier if it were lived–not ignorantly, certainly–in a less overly considered way, outside of prose or poetry. And while I haven’t gone as far as Becky has down the road of questioning, I’ve certainly wondered how much I’ve put aside in order to write Jacob. What if nothing comes of the book in term of its seeing the light of day? What if any and every reader thinks it’s terrible? And, possibly most prominent in my mind, what if it’s all to no purpose?
And in the end, I resolve to be okay with this answer: if I hadn’t gone to the pit to bring back Jacob’s story, I wouldn’t want so much to tell it to you.