I’ve just had some encouraging news from an agent based in London. She liked Kilea, but felt the story lost its way after the midpoint. Everything she said was valid – though I am not saying there is one definite direction for every novel and that by choosing a more rocky path that I was making a mistake, it may have made the book less rewarding for readers. I’ve decided, on her advice, to rework the novel from the midpoint on.
Ideas for the different path came quite easily, which surprised me. I hope that this augers well that the hard work to follow will result in stronger, better stuff. At any rate, I am excited to be starting on it again, feeling fidgety at odd hours. If the weather was better, I’d take a long walk by the murals and litter up to Tompkins Square Park, or down, towards my favourite, Seward Park – there to buy warm fresh-pressed soya milk from hole-in-the-wall North Dumpling and people-watch the chinatown children and their grandparents meandering around the paths and playpark. Instead I’ll brood inside and listen to the hail and rain.
Here’s a rough chunk of ‘Slender, Salted’, from the beginning – two voices.
We go to the North, what North means in your mind is yours,
tuck it away for now.
mine requires oars, juts
of volcanoes who have lost their personalities
eyeless and only speaking in knife-signs, black above moor
there is angry weather and cold, and there is faltering. But
It’s early and they want me in a neon vest. I can’t bear any of them right now. And they’ve handed me the provisions, stinking of last night’s cigarettes and egg. The men out the door first with the maps flapped out of sealhide they caught and rendered themselves. The ‘girls’ like the blood in the pines, so fucking astringent, togethering. The train ride, that was okay. The traversal of the wastes by raised beams and viaduct. I was free to hunt the deer from the closed glass. Steady. Now we have this adventure together, and then it’s done.