Yesterday I received snail mail from Toni Morrison.

Okay, the letter didn’t really end up being from Toni Morrison. It was junk mail, asking me to donate money to Morris Dees’ Southern Poverty Law Center.

But the envelope it came in, which was addressed to Mr. Chad Simpson in typewriter font, had Toni Morrison’s name in the return-address corner. And I must admit that some small but powerfully egotistical part of my brain thought, Toni Morrison is sending me fan mail, at the same time the larger and more sane part of my brain thought, Would Toni Morrison really complete her return address by writing the single word “Author” beneath her name?

Anyway. It was quite a package, and I’m sure the Southern Poverty Law Center has done and will do important work, but junk mail is just tacky. It makes me think of Ed McMahon’s sweepstakes and people running for governmental offices.

In the end, I don’t know if I’m more disappointed in Ms. Morrison, for allowing her name to be attached to junk mail (even if it’s for a good cause) or in Poets & Writers, the organization I’m assuming sold the solicitors my address.

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I finally watched V for Vendetta this past weekend and it was everything I hoped it would be. I’m only disappointed I didn’t take the time to read the book before I watched the movie.

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And in YA novel news: I passed the 10,000-word mark this morning when I finished the ninth chapter. I’ve probably written more like 20,000 words, but I passed the 10,000-word mark for words I’m actually keeping in this draft. Speaking of drafts, I glanced at this interview with author Jennifer Egan yesterday, and she said that she ends up writing one longhand draft and then transcribing that to computer. Most of that longhand draft, though, ends up in the garbage, and her completed projects are usually sixtieth or seventieth drafts. I tend to work through drafts slowly, revising yesterday’s work, and the day’s before, while I write the next bit. This goes for short stories or the novel I’m writing. My problem with this method, though, is that I’m never sure how to number the drafts. Technically, some sentences and scenes have been revised fifty or one hundred times by the time the project is complete, while other sentences and scenes are in only their first or second drafts. I suppose this is the result of composing on a computer, but I’m still not sure how to characterize what I write, draft-wise. I think that once something’s “completed”—as in, it has a beginning and an ending—in document form, I’m going to call it the ninth draft from here on out. So right now, the ninth draft of my YA novel has passed the 10,000-word mark.

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Lastly, I only came across that Egan interview because I had been looking at Tom Drury’s new novel, The Driftless Area. I was so excited about Mr. Drury’s new book that I almost forgot about my self-imposed book-buying ban and ordered it right away off Amazon. Then, a few hours later, I almost drove to the Quad Cities to go to the bookstore (the closest bookstore to here that would possibly carry it is about forty-five miles away). But I held off and drove to the library instead. The library didn’t have it, so this morning I went over to the college and signed up for an interlibrary loan account. I feel so frugal. Now I’m going to try and put the book out of my head for a while so that when I get the email telling me the book has arrived it’ll be a total surprise, like, um, receiving snail-mail from Toni Morrison (you see how I rounded this thing out there? Sneaky, eh?).


Writing Blind said...

Toni Morrison is sending me fan mail

I can just see you standing by your mailbox scratching your head over that one. I must now return to laughing my ass off, thank you.

fringes said...

Thanks for all the updates. I lay awake at night wondering what you're up to. Tonight, I can sleep easy.