Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Here are some unconnected items, just because.

1) The view from our lunch spot on Saturday afternoon:

2) Henry James' novel Washington Square is a perfect book. Possibly that perfection is only possible because it's so short, but still. Perfect.

3) Despite my conviction that the book I am currently writing is of absolutely no worth whatsoever and that I am making a total hash of the second half of the narrative, I continue to plow forward through this first draft with the hope that my original impulse to write this damned thing was founded on an actual good idea. In other words: despair held at arm's length, right on schedule. I hope to be finished with this draft in another five months. But hey, what about the wordcount? It's right around 55,000 now. Another 25,000 or so to go. And then revisions.

4) I'm doing some editing on The Astrologer. I think it'll be a good book, for a metaphorical adventure novel. I'm also having a look at The Last Guest and I think that'll be a good book, too, for a philosophical detective novel. I recently read through Cocke & Bull and, with a bit of work here and there, it will also be a good book, for a misadventure story wrapped around a tragic love triangle.

5) King Lear is an interesting play if you consider that both Lear and Cordelia are the protagonists. Well, it's interesting no matter how you consider it.

6) Do I read Hadji Murad or The Emigrants when I finish Lear?


  1. King Lear is probably the Shakespeare play I am most familiar with. It is so tragic.

    I vote for H.M.!

  2. The natural transition would be Turgenev's "King Lear of the Steppes." I ain't read it. Also, see here.

  3. Davin, I'm really enjoying Lear. I've seen it performed a couple of times but I've never actually read it until now. Some powerful stuff in there. I never noticed before this reading that Cordelia pretty much disappears from the story after the first scene, to reappear later when it's time for her tragic death. And the on-stage blinding of Gloucester might be Shakespeare's most brutal moment (no, it's nothing like the violence of, say, Titus Andronicus, but that butchery takes place behind the scenes).

    Tom, I love Turgenev though I don't have that one, unless it's part of Hunter's Sketches, in which case I just don't remember it. I think I have the Little Professor's Balzac around here somewhere, too.

    Actually, I'm considering Pnin as my follow up book.

  4. Ah, the story in Turgenev's Sportsman's Notebook is "Hamlet of the Shchigrovsky District," from which I admittedly (but unconsciously) stole one of the central ideas of The Astrologer.

    "King Lear of the Steppes" is in a collection I don't know. Which is intriguing, and will send me running once more to the bookstore. Damn.

  5. Oh, quiet, your book is worth a lot and you're just going through the normal phase at this point in drafting. :)

    I love King Lear. I hope Adam gets to do it someday. He's playing in Othello this summer - Iago. :)

  6. Well, maybe you're right. We'll see!

    I love Iago! He was a big inspiration for The Astrologer, you know. Someday we'll get to see Adam perform. Well done him, though. Iago is the best role in Othello. It's the whole play, if you know what I mean.

  7. Oh my gosh, I know. He showed me his script. He talks for PAGES. Plus he's doing two other plays around the same time. He is insane. And has an incredible memory.

  8. It would be pretty easy (well, relatively easy) to put together a one-man play from Othello, just by cutting away every line of dialogue except Iago's.

    Hmm. I might look into that seriously. It could be really cool: Iago.