Drop City 101.

December 5, 2006 at 4:24 pm (Bloom Status: Upward, Uncategorized)

Post NaNoWriMo, I’m all aflame about writing. And I have, by picking up this novel, inadvertenly enrolled in writing school. Oh, mama! MaMA.

drop city

Holy hell, T.C. Boyle! Man, god damn it. I have a vague recollection of his visiting my college when I was a junior, and I was like, huh? T. Corraghessan Who? Does he teach here? Wha? Never mind. I’ve just lost my virginity. Can’t be bothered.

Son of a bitch, man. I wish I could have flashed 18 years into the future and understood how much I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that. I wish I could barrel back in time and demand I yank my head out of my ass and head on over to Olin Hall or wherever he was talking and go there and listen like a wizard. Soak it all up into all me molecules.

Well, all right. It’s all right. He’s in my living room right now in book form. I’ve never read any of his stuff before, and now I’m reading Drop City. I picked it up after traveling back through old archived NY Times 10 Best Books of the Year lists. Man. Every sentence is a master freaking class! The writing is so physical. Everything is floating and washed and slick and jagged and silken. And the story goes along all languid and luxurious and then suddenly before you know it you’ve taken a sidewinder to your temple and you’re wide awake and muttering, what the fuck? What just happened? These bracing, icy, cruel turns of event slide into place as subtle as can be. It’s amazing.

I want to study every sentence. I am. I’m studying this bastard. It’s inspiring. I want to take my little fetal novelina and grow it with as much integrity as I can. Every sentence of this guy’s is some kind of nascent writer’s prenatal vitamin. I haven’t studied writing with any formality – I mean, I’ve taken wonderful writing classes for many years from a dear friend, Writing as a Therapeutic and Spiritual Practice. And that’ s been glorious, but that’s not about writing as a craft. I mean, it’s a wonderland in there, totally free of criticism. Dreamy. That’s about dipping a cup into the river of your _______* and seeing what you pull up. And I’ve learned about letting whatever floats up live to be considered before the bloodthirsty editor kills it on the spot. So, that is just great. Thank you, Vicky! Invaluable. But I want to learn now about crafting stories that are sound to the core, big ones, stories that ring and wake you up and delight you and rattle your mind, and I want to learn about how to build them, the carpentry of them, and I want to learn how to finish them with sentences that arrive in all new shapes so you’re awake to read the thing, sentences that are as unexpected as a close-up of curly elf shoes on Donald Trump’s feet under the board room table**. And I have to learn how to be cold-blooded with myself, how to look at the lumps of raw material and assess what is worth keeping alive and what doe-eyed, sweetly blinking hunk of beloved text must be killed. (Like this one, Fruity McFloridson.) I feel ambitious!

*Soul? Heart? Unconscious? Body? Past? Intuition? Whatever and however many you like.

**God help me.
Yeah, this is all very embarrassing, but it’s sincere. I’m going to be like this now for a while. Avid and studenty. Thank you for your patience.

Bloom Status: Learning is good, even if you come across like an ass while you’re doing it. Upward. *

*I wonder what it’s gonna take out of me to give myself a Downward. Rose-colored glasses are the main kind of glasses I own. But, you know, meanwhile….whoo! Movin’ on up.

1 Comment

  1. Eve said,

    Hey! You there! Get back here and write me somethin’, will ya??!
    Take a little break from all that thar book learnin’ and throw me a bone. I miss you!

    (Oh my god, see what an idiot I turn into when I haven’t had my Gallivanting Monkey fix for weeks?)

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