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Archive for November, 2006

Dump the Pumpkin


Sure it’s been fun, but judging by Jack O’s collapsed condition, it’s time to perform the ritual Dumping of the Pumpkin. Crank up the old dirge, spark up the funeral pyre.

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Local author Jack Riggs read from his novel-in-progress at today’s meeting of the Atlanta Writers Club in Sandy Springs. It was standing room only and I was a bit late (so I stood, of course) but caught most of his reading.

His writing is at turns tough, poetic, brutally real, funny, heartbreakingly sad. He also spoke about the “crap” that goes on in the NY publishing industry, his frustrations with the revolving door of editors at Ballantine, the success of his first novel — When the Finch Rises — and the sheer joy at finding the time to simply write and not worry about the business of writing and publishing. That’s what it’s all about anyway, just writing for that one perfect reader, writing that one perfect sentence that cuts through the posing, the attitudes, and gets to the plain truth of the writing.

His words were encouraging, but when he spoke about the downside of working on a second novel (which turns out to be his third) I was humbly reminded that even if I finish my own novel, if an editor ever looks at it, if it’s miraculously published, the attention paid to a new author is so fleeting — one moment you’re a teriffic new voice, the next moment everyone’s looking elsewhere for the next new thing, and on and on. I’ve always known that publishing a book won’t change my life (or will it? Jack, what do you say?); still, I keep plugging away, page after page.

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