The Right Words

I have written the beginning of the piece and I am pleased with it. The writing is not hard. The writing is never hard. It is the weight of doing it correctly that creates the pressure. There are only so many words. You have to know which ones to pick. Writers who do not draw you back choose the wrong words. I go to bookstores and read the first pages of hundreds of books. Most of the time, I read the first paragraph and a half, then throw the book down on the table. I go from one to the next, tossing it down, more violently each time, like the guy who splits the row of cement bricks with his head. I throw them down on the table because it makes me fume, no, it makes me incensed, to see that these books have been published at all, and have had jackets designed for them and typefaces selected and dedications dedicated. When, in the process of the birth of a badly written book, was it not noticed that the badly written book was badly written?

I am writing a book. It is a novel. I think, objectively, that it is a very well-written story. I have written a book before, but it did not get published. When I reached two hundred pages, the girls and I had a Two Hundred Page Party. I bought doughnuts, because they are curved, and the numerals in two hundred are curved. I cut one up and formed a “2.” The zeros speak for themselves.

From that first effort, I have stolen a little bit from myself. It is important to save your work and use it later, elsewhere, if it makes sense. You cannot force it, but often, it finds a new home. The girls ask me how the book is going. I keep them up to date. They read parts of it and tell me whether they think it’s any good. So far, I have gotten fabulous reviews, though I have made it clear that they need to be honest. Perhaps I will include some of it here, at some point. When it gets sold, and it will, because I have already decided how I will cross my legs on Oprah, we will hire a cleaning woman. That is the plan. 



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