Process letter to my advisor 2.1September 7, 2007
How have you been? My life as I mentioned before, is in limbo. I still haven’t moved. The house has been packed up for over a month and we are basically camping out here until it sells. We would probably just leave and let the house fend for itself and sell, but the loft space in Buffalo is behind schedule. It was supposed to be done in July, but now they say hopefully the end of September? On top of this I put in my notice at the teaching job several weeks ago, then went out to the coast for a couple days. When I got back there was a notice saying my job had sent me to collections for overpayment. No previous notice. This was a surprise… since they still owe me almost a third of my contract even though I completed teaching and did a bunch of extra work for them. I figured it out, and if I was to pay back the amount they claim they overpaid me… I would’ve taught from January through June for around $4000 total. Ah, education. Luckily I have my signed contract, but I may have to take the whole thing to court if it doesn’t resolve in the next couple days. Anyway, that’s what has been going on around here. I just want to hop in my car and leave. Hopefully I will get to move before my ACA fellowship in October, or I will really be in limbo.
So we begin another semester. This was a very difficult time for me to start writing again. I felt like there just wasn’t anything to tap into and nothing left of me to put into it. I’ve been emotionally exhausted and pretty demoralized, but I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of it. Hopefully the work is okay, I’m having a hard time being objective about it… but I’m relatively optimistic. The residency feels like it was ages ago. For this packet I have included annotations for Lexicon Devil and No One Belongs Here More than You. For Lexicon Devil I tried to look into how the biography was structured and how this fit together with the subject matter. With Miranda July’s collection I worked to contextualize how I think of her as an artist and how that affects the way I approach her work. For my creative sample I am sending you 22 pages of writing. I am in the process of inserting a new story line where the kid reads something about a person looking for a hook up on the bathroom wall and decides to camp out and see who shows up. I think I’m going to have some sort of misunderstanding where he thinks somebody is in the bathroom and builds up in his head that there is this whole elaborate encounter happening… but then he realizes the bathroom was empty and it was all in his head. I have included the earlier pages where these story insertions take place in addition to the chapter starting on page 95. This is a first attempt at working the story in. On the bottom of page 27 is the first mention of the bathroom graffiti. The second mention happens on page 82. My newest chapter starts on page 95 with the portion I submitted at the residency. I did some minor reworking on this (word choice, flow, and order of events) with this, but wasn’t prepared to dig in until I heard back from you. Starting on page 102 is the conclusion of this chapter, which is all completely new. In this chapter: the Jennifer Muir actress character is introduced (he pseudo stalks her later), the kid talks about his brush with fame vicariously through Geoff, and there’s another scene of his growing bathroom interest. The ending is still tentative. This chapter doesn’t feel completely resolved, but I have a tendency to write Doogie Howser moments. Did you ever watch that show? At the end Neil Patrick Harris would always sit down and write his poetic thoughts about whatever lesson he had learned in the show on his computer… I’m trying to avoid that.
The next two chapters will be the conclusion of the first part of the book. There is another Stalking America chapter then the conclusion chapter for the train ride where the kid decides to unexpectedly get off the train early. I definitely agree with you about the Stalking America story lines. They need to feel more real. There needs to be a contrast between them and the rest of the story. They aren’t there yet, and I think part of the problem is I don’t fully understand them yet. I’m not sure how to write them. That’s part of why I am focusing on the kid’s story line more at this point, while only doing the Stalking America parts that give it some structure… I want the Stalking America parts to feel more real and alive. After I finish this next section with the kid, I’m hoping I will have more of an idea about how to approach Stalking America. I want them to be in the kid’s voice, but I want it to sound more real than when he is telling his own story.
I am doing a writing residency for three weeks at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in October, and am hoping to pinch some time away there to start my critical paper. Hopefully I am moved across country by then.
How have you been? Anything exciting in the works? I predict a lot of driving and manual labor in my near future.