Broken Turtle Blog

Broken Turtle Blog

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Done Written

For the past several years I have tried to stop writing prose fiction. It's been more than 50 years since I began writing literature. I've been most recently commemorating that time in 1962, just after graduating from high school, that I plunked my old Underwood on the kitchen table of my parents' house and started banging out short stories. Before the end of that year I wrote about a half dozen of them and launched my literary career, such as it would turn out to be, by sending them to The New Yorker. One of those stories became my first published story in 1966 in a small college literary magazine that's not worth mentioning.

Almost a decade later, in 1973, slowed by war, getting immersed in the counter culture movement, and kicking around the country, I renewed my aspirations by writing my first novel, The Afternoon Detective Agency. Except for a chapter published in Expresso Tilt in 1984 and part of a chapter published in Dreamstreets 3, the novel remains unpublished. What ensued during the next 39 years is a matter of record. My published work can be found on every floor of the University of Delaware library. Whoopee do! The greater remaining amount is unpublished.

Today as I grapple with the certainty that I will be living in the same poverty as I'm living now for the rest of my life, I don't see any reason for continuing to waste my time trying to be a literary artist. The problem is that writing ideas keep coming. My final challenge is to keep from being tempted to write. While I might give in to this impulse, I will not share the results. No one will ever know. I'm convinced, with the exception of a few, that no one is interested, cares, or even curious about what I write.

Within the past few weeks I wrote my final two short stories, which I sent to The New Yorker so they could reject them, as a means to commemorate my original gesture 50 years ago, as well as to ascertain some measure of progress. Well, I've got my measure. I know who to blame, and it's not myself, and that's why I'm so bitter.

My final novel. Only 6 copies exist.
The first of those two recent short stories, entitled "Chasing Sugar," picks up where The Afternoon Detective Agency ends. Wences Minion finds himself chasing Sugar Heartstraps through the subways of New York City. It is a world where all the conspiracy theories have turned out to be true, from a Kenyan born Muslim who had been sent packing, to chem trails and HAARP really being used to control the weather and used for mind control respectively. Minion finds himself in a United States flagrantly run by a new breed of Nazis. He is chasing Sugar because she has his dossier containing some vital information these new Nazis, the Archon Falange and their Secrepo agents, want. As for what happens, you'll never know until some one pays me to publish it. It's not likely to happen.

The second story is entitled "Christmas at Collinswood." In this story, Mark Lucas wakes from a coma. He's in the hospital and the first person he sees is Dr. Julia Hoffman. She's just finished up her studies to be a doctor at the New York School of Medicine. It's Christmas of 1945. Lucas had returned from the service during World War II and Dr. Hoffman helps him through that first post war Christmas. Shortly afterward, Dr. Hoffman gets an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The two lose touch. Living in New York, Lucas eventually gets a job as a stagehand with the help of a new neighbor named Fred Mertz, who lives in an apartment building in Manhattan with his wife Ethel. The other neighbors are Ricky Ricardo and his wife Lucy. Lucas later moves to an apartment building in Brooklyn. His new neighbors are Ralph and Alice Kramden on the second floor, and Ed and Trixie Norton up on the third floor. Not long after, Lucas runs into Fred Mertz and his friend, comedy writer Buddy Sorrell, who hooks Lucas up with his co-employee Sally Rogers. Lucas and Sally have a brief fling and just as it sours, he learns about Dr. Julia Hoffman. She has gone to Maine to help a man named Barnabas Collins, who has a rare and ancient blood disease. It's 1966 and things come to a head during the Christmas season. What happens? You'll never know until some one pays me to publish it. Not likely.

Sorry, I just can't afford to give it away anymore.
My Vietnam War novel. Only 6 copies exist.

As I declared at the beginning of this article, writing ideas keep coming to me. For a while I'll used this Brokenturtle blogspot to provide quick synopses of fiction ideas that occur to me but which I will never write. I'll give that much. It only takes an hour to whack out these blog articles, but I'll also write these synopses to get it out of my system, to purge the poison of wasted creativity from my life.

By the way, a few articles ago, I suggested that I might be deleting the file on Valdemar's Corpse, my non-fiction book about Delaware's past literary artists. The verdict is still out. The book is still hanging by a couple of threads. One of those is a query to a publisher for which I'm still awaiting a response. There is another publisher who wants to publish it, but there are issues, mostly having to do with printing costs. There are those who are rooting for Valdemar's Corpse never seeing the light of print. Perhaps they'll get their wish and like the corpse of Valdemar in Poe's story, after the link has been broken, my book will rapidly decompose never to be heard, or in my case, read forever. 

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