And not a moment too soon, you might say. Thing of it is, so would I…
I had someone ask me during a Q&A after my reading at NYRSF what year Red Jenny took place in. Coyly, I declined to give a year, citing how both George Orwell and Arthur C. Clarke got hobbled by tying some of their better-known works to a date on the calendar.
Truth be told, the way things were going, there was every chance that a lot of events happening around us were going to make the novel look dated months before this moment. Between March of 2011 and today, we’ve seen federal sequestration leading to government disengagement from its citizens, a major storm slamming the New York area and a realization that we’re going to lose a lot more land to inundation than we thought, an explosion of gun violence that would not be that uncommon in the time of these pirates, serious challenges to our access to medical treatment, a worsening relationship between the U.S. and her neighbors; hell, the Peace Bridge just became a flashpoint between both sides….
Despite plenty of evidence in literature for years that trying to project near-term developments by a writer is a sucker’s game, I still put a couple of bucks down for some action, thankful I was able to walk away not that much lighter at the end of it.
So wrapping things now worked out pretty well. In fact, I’d say my timing was pretty good; a few weeks ago some press was being generated by the coining of the term “cli-fi,” having the novel in the right place and time as everyone considers the subject and allowing me to drastically cut down the time for my elevator pitch…
Speaking of getting everything in, I feel like a writer getting an Oscar and finding he’s only got 20 seconds left before they play him off to start thanking everyone for getting there. If you don’t find your name here, we’ll talk:
* My wife (and editor) Susan, and son James: The non-writers out there can relate to the misery of being around someone who needs time to create and gets snarly if they can’t be with their craft often enough, and the two of you put up with a lot from me. (And you writers out there reading this with someone with whom you share close quarters: Take a second and let them know how much you love them.)
* Cheryl Mortensen, who encouraged me not to sit around too long after Raging Gail was finished to share this one; as it happened, the timing worked out pretty well.
* Tim O’Mara, author of Sacrifice Fly, and host of the We Three Productions reading series, who gave me the first opportunity to read from the novel and offered me a chance to share the work with a wider audience.
* Jim Freund, radio personality and host of the NYSFR reading series, who took a gamble on giving me a chance to do a reading from the novel at literally the last minute; if that isn’t a great stress test of your skills as a writer, I can’t think of any better.
* Everyone who came to or ended up at both readings; having you as an audience was gratifying, and I love the warmth that you all showed. And hey, count your blessings; better you hear me reading than singing…
* Last but not least, everyone who logged in and read the book. I enjoyed your comments when they came, though just having you read along as it came out was more than enough for me. It’s to you I owe so much; thank you.
I had at one point the wild idea of a big wrap party when I got to this point, but not having a Harvey Weinstein-sized budget for a soirée, I’ve had to scale back; dammit! I’m still scaling here as I write this, so even if all I end up with is coming home alone to a can of Genesee and one of those stale cheese-and-cracker packs you get from a vending machine on the New York State Thruway, I can at least have this out here to show my thanks.
Who knows, maybe someone reading this may decide to take me out for a drink or two, just to say thanks. I can promise I’m good company and that I won’t be that embarrassing.
And I might even share with you a sneak peak at the next project…