Monday, July 24, 2006

Look What They've Done to my Song

"Look what they've done to my song, Ma
Look what they've done to my song

"It was the only thing I could do half-right
And it's turning out all wrong, Ma
Look what they've done to my song."

--Melanie Safka

There was a time when I sincerely believed in literature, that it could instruct on social conduct, on ethics, that it could show the ways of God to man, that it had an aswer for the puzzle of existence.

The scientits had pretty well failed on their "theory of everything", their sole achievement, it seems, was crashing isotopes of plutonium into U-235 for one hell of a big bang to knock out little yellow men. Now "the little yellow men" own the scientists as America goes deeper and deeper into debt with Japan. The foo is on the other shoot.
I wrote an entire novel on a scientist on a quest for the Theory of Everything and what he ended up with was the Old Testament. Science and the Bible are the same? Well, you can read my HAT PEOPLE above and determine for yourself. If science knew sin with the dropping of the atomic bomb on a civilian population, my hero, Kevin Logan also knew sin when he tampered with a serious commandment. Adultery kills, kills the soul but no one in this day and age will tell you.

So you give up everything to write your novel, your song.

The quest takes twenty years, the loss of your career, your family, your home, your money.

Classic example of a crazy person's behaviour, no?

"But all writers are dickheads," said my friend at the homeless shelter. "They are monomanics, they keep doing this one thing over and over again.
"That," said the genius bum, "is what Einstein was saying." "If you do something over and over again with the same results, you are crazy.'"

Well, crazy yeah, but maybe a little like a fox. They did notice your book. You got some money for it, but scant circulation. You have also reached some young people who could identify with a book where two people had had just enough of each other and nobody wanted to be the bad guy. The Big Split....A little like atomic physics?

I wrote my book, and it was somehow split.

What had the small,crummy publishers done to my book?

I had it published on the cheap and what came out was a mess of mis-set lines, millions of typos--a total mess.

Had to reprint, on my own hook. There were now two books, two versitons, one dirty and one clean. Finally I got some good reviews in the local press and in Ottawa.
Well, it was done at last. Reprinted on the web too, by my good friend Aaron Braaten over at Reprinted here, just above, on the masthead of my blog, if you will look up.

"A fine novel," said my agent. But he did send it back because there were still some technical glitches in the manuscript.
What had they done to my song?

Well, maybe the author himself was the culprit.

He had written the story for therapy, at a time when he was going mad with grief and sorrow, wrote it close to the bone, had possibly hurt a few people he perceived hurting him. The Devil plays the best music and this was one Hell of a song.
Fishing in forbidden streams, hunting unicorns in the brambles...anything at all to keep up ones optimism without the palliatives of cigarettes and booze, both of which blank out the zero-feeling when you are left alone; you just hadn't faced the problem.

But the mountain was not very pretty, quite ugly in fact, and why stare hypnotically at the mountain, why die when your really want to live, to be in the state of grace, to be yourself. Why keep attacking those people, to be defeated again and again, to have all your hopes, dreams, schemes thwarted every time and always ending up on Square One?

Well, somettimes you have to pit your entire being up against it. All of you, all your strength, all your soul.
It will take twenty years, but if you force against something for twenty years, it will eventually move.

It did.

There is a kind of triumph in getting a book out. The whole town will know about it.
You walk out into the street, and everyone is greeting you.

But my book, in part, was about people's motives.
What are my greeter's' motives?

To find my secret so it can become their secret, the secret wellsprings of success?

Should have told them the publishers can really mangle your book and it takes a very long time to set things right.

There are a lot of peple who can mangle your life and it talkes a long time to set things right.

1 comment:

She said...

I read your blog accidentally, never looked before.
I too have a book to write which is like a mountain I have to move.It has also taken twenty years to get to this point.Thank you for giving me a reason to DO it.