Still trying to work out this project. I talk about it enough that people are actually starting to ask me what it's about, which never happens. The bad thing? I still am not totally sure, much less in a position to talk about it. "Uh...stuff."
This time around, I've very acutely noticed something: When I'm working on something, in a subconscious way it becomes sort of a beacon in real life. I'll have some stupid little social or personal problem, I'll start the story, and the real life problem that I'm also picking over will begin shifting, changing...and usually, though not always, resolving.
Which leads to this...I wonder what Robert Olen Butler's been working on lately.
I read A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain not long after it came out and loved it. I also dug The Deuce and Tabloid Dreams. But every time I've read an interview with him, I've thought well, he's articulating things about the writing process that I personally would just as soon leave alone.
That crossed my mind yet again when I read the widely circulated Why My Wife Is Leaving Me for Ted Turner (Yes, That Ted Turner) email. I can see why anyone would write it, and it's tempting to think that Butler's been too busy cranking out well-regarded literary fiction to pay heed to what my sister calls the Internet Is Your Front Yard Doctrine.
But I wonder if it has more to do with Butler's apparently usual modus operandi: he tried to pick this problem apart for what it was, and then take that to his usual audience. Only this time, it's real life -- and the answers here can be far more awkward, far less satisfactory.*
*All of this makes me sound like I don't appreciate the fact that this is serious literary camp. I do! I do! I'd rather ponder the Ted Turner? Really? any day of the week then read about another DUI in the TMZ.