Slowing Down, Taking It In
12 March 2010
First, some photos from “the road” — McNally Jackson reading on Wednesday (thanks Jane and Tommy for pics):
Thanks to all who came out, and thanks again to Angela and Dustin for inviting me / making it happen. With any luck, we’ll have an mp3, and I can do some post-game analysis.
I’m processing all of this “being out there” — which really isn’t all that much exposure, just relatively so, for a homebody like me — but it’s all a little out-of-body, which is not how you want it to be, i.e. you want to be as present in the moment as you can. I’m learning that the little things can make a difference, e.g. I’ve started making sure that there will be a mic, because something about having to raise my voice makes the experience feel very un-me. I’ve also noticed that lighting matters — the dimmer the better, the easier for your audience to focus on the words and the story coming forth from your mouth into the space.
It’s a strange waiting period we’re in right now. Hoping for some reviews, a national publication would be super. We got bumped last Sunday from PARADE — a last minute switcheroo to Chang-rae Lee’s The Surrendered. What can I say. A deserving author and, from what I hear, a very deserving book. Still, one feels the injustice (who knows, really; but the thought crosses my mind) of “only one Korean American author at a time,” even if the novels are as different as any other two novels might be.
It’s also, weirdly, a kind of shock to realize that people are actually reading the book. “Your book arrived, am reading now!” many have written. Uy. Really? Forgot about that part. The most gratifying reactions have been from those I know to be highly critical readers, who approach reading as a deep, and sometimes difficult, pleasure. Long for This World is not, it would seem, an “easy read”: shifting points of view, lots of characters (with Korean names) to remember, multiple story-lines which diverge and reconverge at different points in the book. But I’m happy to hear from readers who are not dismayed, but rather compelled, to journey with the characters to the other side, to convergence and resonance.
Rambling here… but thanks for reading, both here and LFTW. Am working now on a longish short story that is coming along; it feels good to take a serious ax to a first draft and really work at making it deeper and more whole. Note to self: do not write short stories on deadline anymore. The process is so much like writing a novel for me, it needs time and space and air.