Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

An effort to think more like a starving writer

I removed myself from On Display because I’m sick of every other journal except mine. Is that wrong? Maybe I will start a ring for text-only journals written by people who don’t read other journals and don’t care about graphics. If you think your journal fits the bill, email me. Also, it helps if you like Black Sabbath.

I’ve been reading Bukowski’s two books of letters, in an effort to think more like a starving writer. It’s made me realize I need to think more seriously about my books and get stuff done. Today I went to Virginia Lore’s and gave her the first two parts of Summer Rain and a recent draft of Rumored to Exist. She read part of Summer Rain and seemed into it, so hopefully that means another dedicated reader to give me detailed feedback, along with Michael, Andrea, and Marie. BTW, if you are reading this and want to review any of my stuff, it’s on my web site. But you have to email and ask for the password. I’m warning you in advance though that it’s a daunting task – thousands of pages, but maybe you’ll enjoy it.

I’ve been working more on Summer Rain lately, trying to get the third book in shape before I move. It’s at about 62,000 words, and my goal is 85,000. (That’s for the third book – the whole thing is currently like 220,000 words.) I’ve been piddling around with how the ending works. The whole thing needs to come crashing down pretty fast, like within a couple of chapters, and it’s not exactly smooth right now. It happens too fast, and out of nowhere. I’m trying to hid little clues and sort of pull back the duration of this final hammerblow to the chest so it’s not too formulaic or something. Although the word count is getting there, some of the final chapters still look pretty fucked.

In the last day or two, I’ve been looking back at older pieces of Summer Rain and doing some housekeeping. I’ve been working on the book almost constantly for a year now, except for the sporadic vacations I’ve taken with Rumored. So there’s writing I’ve done from like last May or even older that I haven’t looked at or messed with in a while. In fact, there are bits and pieces in book 3 I haven’t touched in months. It’s always nice to go back to something you’ve written and forgotten. When I go back to old parts of SR, I see pieces that make me laugh, prose that I think is strong, and stuff that works. That’s good, because in old drafts of SR, I cringe at the stuff I find. Rumored takes the cake though – after I set it down and let it ferment for a few months, I pick it up and find stuff I forgot I wrote, stuff that usually makes me laugh out loud. I love when that happens.

The big party is tomorrow. I don’t know who will be there, except for the usuals. I hope it’s a lot of people, but even if it’s just me, Ryan, Todd, and Keiko telling old stories about Spry, it’ll be fun. Every time I say I won’t miss Seattle, I think of another person that I will miss. And today, me and Virginia went walking, and went to this park up on Queen Anne hill, where she lives. It overlooked EVERYTHING – all of Puget sound right in front of us, the waters going off to the San Juans on the right, with little tugboats and ferries going back and forth below. And to the left, you could see all of downtown Seattle – Belltown, the Space Needle, the buildings, Alaskan Way, Key Arena, and if it would have been clear, even Mount Rainier. Virginia told me this story about how that spot was her first view of Seattle, how when she was going to school in Olympia, she had a crazy blind date that drove her up there and it was the first time she saw the city. It’s kindof sad to think that it will be one of the last times I get a good look at everything at once.

I videotaped it, of course. Making lots of tapes before I leave. I’m going to bring the thing to the party. Having a bunch of drunk people pass around a camera and make commentary is usually a pretty good view later when you’re sober. I have 3 more two-hour tapes to fill on the way out. I have no idea what I’ll do with them once I finish taping them – I still have about 4 hours of Disneyland circa 1997 that I’ve only watched like twice.

I promised myself I’d write until I was tired, and now I am.