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Archive for June, 2011

Born in 1933, Charles “Cormac” McCarthy has written ten novels, as well as plays and screenplays.  He has received the Pulitzer prize for The Road and is regularly mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel prize in literature.  His influences are Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, Fyodor Dostoevsky and, most especially, William Faulkner, but he has the most original style of writing that I’ve ever seen.  He uses capital letters, periods and the occasional comma or colon, but never semi-colons or quotation marks.  He says that he doesn’t like to “blot the page up with weird little marks.”  I imagine that there have been at least a few authors who also wrote without complete punctuation, but I believe McCarthy has a style all his own.  In 2006, The New York Times Magazine conducted a poll of authors and publishers to determine the greatest American novels of the previous quarter-century.  McCarthy’s Blood Meridian placed third.  Generally four to seven years between novels, McCarthy is more about quality than quantity.  And not a fan of authors who do not deal with issues of life and death, he stated, “I don’t understand them.  To me, that’s not literature.  A lot of writers who are considered good, I consider strange.”  Personally, I’m a huge fan.  All The Pretty Horses is one of my favorite books and No Country For Old Men is a great movie that follows the book almost precisely.  Not that I could ever write without punctuation (I’m hopeful that my book has all the correct punctuation in the appropriate places), but I wonder about authors who have that desire.  Are they allowed to write in a style that is so definitely Cormac McCarthy’s?  Or does the man own his style in a way that precludes others from following suit?  Can one be an original writer and write without punctuation?  Or is that forever the stamp of Cormac McCarthy?

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The book process had become circular.  It kept coming back around to editing.  As this is my first published novel, it’s all been a learn-on-the-job method of writing and editing.  The majority of the editing was done by me and a few very smart friends.  Then I erroneously thought we were done and sent it to typesetting.  There, a professional editor got a hold of it and suggested some rather major changes.  It took me six weeks to make the changes, exactly as long as I guessed it would (there was some satisfaction in that).  And now, after having another person read through my massive rewrite, I believe it’s ready to go back to typesetting, although I am a little nervous – but, I’m always a little nervous, so that’s nothing new.  That professional editor is lurking somewhere and who knows what could come of another pass through.  I, frankly, don’t think I have another rewrite in me.  I wrote this book during the month of August, 2010 (it took a total of twenty-one days) and have been rewriting it ever since.  I know that each revision made it a better book and they all add up to a big difference since the first draft.  I’ve learned that it’s all a part of the writing process.  Unless you’re brilliant, you’re probably going to have to rewrite and then rewrite some more.  Write a book, then rewrite it twenty times and you’re done.  And, then we’re back to typesetting.  This part of the process should be brief, get the typesetting done, proof it a couple of times and hit print.  It finally is what it is.  Available soon.  (Fingers crossed ‘til my hands cramp.)

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Did anyone else expect the deficit to be turning around by now?  Were my expectations too high?  I’m loathe to admit my disappointment in the present federal administration.  I do hate to disparage President Obama and his cohorts.  I vote Democrat and rarely “like” what the Republicans are up to, as well.  I know President Obama has been working on his health plan, and he caught Bin Laden, and I’m certain that he has been run ragged with all the other issues and items on his agenda.  I know he’s worked at bipartisanship and created the gangs of six, but the Republicans don’t much like him, which sort of defeats his purpose.  I guess I expected something along the lines of a moral Clinton, a man with decency, honesty and genuine hard work who would balance the budget and turn the deficit into a surplus.  There would be other great accomplishments along the way, Bin Laden, to name one, but the surplus would solve so many other problems.  And I know that the times are different from when President Clinton served; real estate still bottomed out, gas prices through the roof, the unemployment rate sky high and the economy in the dumper are just a few of the problems President Obama faces. I really shouldn’t blame the president; it’s more the circumstances that I dislike.  I’m sure no man or woman could do better and it’s not really fair to judge him against President Clinton’s accomplishments (and failures).  It’s apples to lemons and guess who got the lemons.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the man still, it’s just the accomplishments, or lack thereof, with which I am a bit sadly disappointed.  I still would very much like to see President Obama serve a second term.  I hope the luxury of not playing for the votes would allow him to get creative, think outside the box, and make good stuff happen.

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