Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Hey, I started writing again after far too many weeks!

Here's another section of "1, 3, 2, 4." If you've forgotten what that is, I can't say I blame you. If no one sees this because my blog is far too inactive, I can't say I blame you. I'm not sure if I will finish this story, since I (at least partially) blame it for putting me into a funk in the first place. Damn art! Damn emotions! Damn soul that I don't really believe in!

The building used to be a toy factory. That’s what everyone still called it, especially the hipsters in their V-necks and plaid shorts and thick-rimmed, turtle shell glasses. Benjamin wondered how those young kids could afford to live here—he and Leo barely could afford it themselves, and both of them had decent jobs, jobs earned after years of dedicated servitude.

The floors were polished concrete, something Leo had loved in the pictures online. They showed the old cracks and stains from the 1920s when the place was first erected. Wide pillars stood near the Eastern wall, supporting even more concrete above them. The building was officially designated an earthquake shelter in the eighties, and the inspector had assured them that a place like this would never collapse unless a nuclear bomb were to land directly on top of it. At the time this had given Benjamin a sense of security, but later, after Leo arrived, the weight of the building seemed to sit on his chest, making it hard to breathe sometimes as they lay together, side by side, in bed. When they were considering places to live in the U.S., Benjamin had suggested they move back to this neighborhood, but Leo was the one who finally told their real estate agent they were ready to make an offer. He had been fed up with Benjamin’s wishy-washiness.

And, AND, I should also say that my buds Scott and Michelle are both offering up their books to the world soon. Scott. Michelle. And, I've been reading Robynne Rand's Who Are You?, which you should check out. There's also J.B. Chicoine's Uncharted and February Grace's Godspeed on my list!

What's Peanut eating? Pumpkin, after a rather festive carving party that included spider web decorations, a pie, and only one injury.

Can you guess which one I did?


  1. We had pumpkin pie last weekend. It was excellent. My guess is that your pumpkin is number 4 and I'm glad to hear that you're writing again. I stopped work on my new novel about a week or more ago and I'm having a hard time getting back to it. Earlier this week I wrote a few pages but have done nothing since then. I seem to have lost the essential groove of the narrative and I can't find my way into it again. Given the choice of writing or sleeping, I'd rather sleep. I don't know what's up with that.

    I like that you're writing about your own home. I like the bits about earthquakes and nuclear bombs; is that emotional/thematic foreshadowing? The image of the weight of the building on Ben's chest is good. I have no advice about writing stories that open the author's own wounds, though some of what I last wrote for my own novella in progress was really personal and, I saw when I was done, made me unhappy just to think about. The narrative is moving into territory I'd promised myself I'd leave alone. So what the hell's up with that?

  2. Hi Scott! I'm trying to be aware of all of the details in this story, so, yes indeed, the earthquakes and bombs are foreshadowing something. I've been reading Yasunari Kawabata, one of my favorite authors, and I notice how subtle he is. So, maybe my details will change as I work through it. I'm trying to figure out if being subtle is a better way of penetrating the reader emotionally because it goes under the radar of the analytical brain. Hmmm. The unhappiness issue is an interesting one, huh? If it was cathartic, that would be one thing. If it just makes one feel yucky, that's another thing.

  3. Recommend me a Kawabata and I'll read it.

    Writing about Subjects I Don't Want To Think About is a real disincentive to writing at all. Is more personal material "better" material? I don't know. I really don't. It's a problem I can't solve.

  4. Oh, by the way, you guessed the right pumpkin! :)

    I'm a little nervous to recommend a Kawabata since Banana Yoshimoto didn't work for you. But hopefully they are different enough. The writing style is still spare, but Kawabata is more classical, sexual, and odd in a different way. My favorite book of his is The Lake--that's the one I'd recommend. His book Sound of the Mountain was the book that inspired me to write fiction, although I can't remember any of it other than that it was about some weird sexual relationship, I think between a man and his daughter-in-law. I remember I was reading both Sound of the Mountain and John Updike's Rabbit at Rest at the same time, and the strange sex in both books (and the fact that both writers won big awards) made me think I could also put out what was in my head.

  5. I've been making my way through Godspeed, and I'm enjoying it! Uncharted is fantastic. And so is that Astrologer book! Robyn's collection is something I've got in my shopping cart. I need to go get it!

    And, with all of that out of the way, your post is great, and so is your excerpt. I like the part about the cracks in the floor. I keep thinking you said the word marble, but you didn't. That's the image you conjured for me.

    I was going to guess number 4 for the pumpkin. In fact, that is what I guessed before I read the answer in your comments, and that Scott guessed it too. Do we know you well, or what?!

  6. Michelle, in real life, the cracks in the floor sometimes snag my socks and tear them. But I still like them! I also like that you both can pick my pumpkin!

  7. I was going to guess three.

    I am tempted to say I hope you finish it, because I'm enjoying it. I love what you did with the weight of the building here. But there are Things I Will Never Write About, so I respect the choice not to finish, should you make it.

    I do not like pumpkin pie, but my mom has a pumpkin bread recipe that is one of my all time favorite things. It's a little nostalgia, I'm sure, but mostly the sugar.

    Glad to see you posting, Davin.

  8. Hi Jennifer! So, you don't like pumpkin pie and you don't like fruit pies. What kind of pies do you like? Do you like pie? I haven't decided if I will give up on the story or not. For now, I'm still picking at it. Like a scab.

  9. I will refrain from the anti-picking lecture I give my kids. Because you know what? The scars I was so worried about that one summer the mosquitoes relentlessly bit my two youngest kids did materialize and linger and then? They faded to where you almost can't see them. Just enough so that I remember that summer, which was in many ways a very good summer.

    Maybe it will be the same with your story.

    You know what pie I like? I like chocolate pudding in a graham cracker crust. And that is it. That is the only pie I like. Totally pathetic, I know!

  10. I like your extended scab metaphor. You must include "Scab" somewhere in the title of your How To Write book!

    Chocolate pudding pie. I thought it might be something like that.

  11. Thanks for the plug, Davin. I hope you like my stories. UNCHARTED is phenomenal as well as GODSPEED. You won't be disappointed in either.

    Both to you and Scott, I've been opening up my old wounds over the years and inserting some of them into my stories. No, it's not cathartic at all, at the time, but later, a few years later, after I've either let them sit, or published them and no longer look at them, it does bring a certain sense of relief, that in some way I've exorcised them from my system.

  12. I bought a copy of "Snow Country" today; it's not one of your recommendations, but it's what the university bookstore had on the shelf. So we'll see what I think. I won't get to it for a couple of weeks, though. The writing's spare, but it's pared down like poetry, not simplified the way I think of Yashimoto. If that makes any sense. I've only read the first page and a half, so what do I know?

  13. I've been wondering where you disappeared to, Davin! Or maybe it's just me who's been out of the loop for a while. I must stop back in here periodically to see what you've up to...and what's not to love about a food theme!