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Posts Tagged ‘1968’

Lure of writing the Great American Novel

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 8, 2018

I read through my story “The Death of David Pickett” one last time yesterday before I sent the manuscript off to my copy editor. Once the text is corrected, this is the next step before I format it into a digital “book” (ebook and pdf). TDDP will be a bit of swag, a promotional item given away for free, a well written prequel to my novel 1% Free full of links encouraging readers of the story to buy the book.

This project came out of efforts to develop one of my completed longish short stories into something approaching another novel in length. My novel production is not prodigious, which is why I tend toward the kitchen sink approach in writing 400+ page books crammed with everything under the sun. I’m never sure when, or if, I will manage to write another. Once the copyediting of TDDP is done, I’ll return to this approach with the three potential science fiction candidates in my archive.

I also have a longstanding idea for a novel-length story that isn’t science fiction. Set in 1967-68, it focuses on a Spanish graduate student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico who is suspended for a prank, travels around the world participating in some of the heady events of “the year that shook the world,” and returns to UNAM in time to witness the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City on October 2, 1968. This is also about my fascination with the time in my life that formed my politics, and I have about 30 pages, 8,000 words, and a bare outline to work with from when I first considered the idea. But unlike my novelettes/novellas I hope to expand into novels, this is a novel that still needs to be written. It will require some discipline and maybe a writing group or two to get it started. I’ve already begun collecting material and sources for this potential book.

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A writer is someone who cannot not write

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 12, 2018

To be is to do.—Albert Camus
To do is to be.—Jean-Paul Sartre
Do be do be do.—Frank Sinatra

So goes a version of humorous graffiti mentioned by Kurt Vonnegut in “Deadeye Dick.” As a writer, I have my own clever exchange of sayings:

A writer is someone who writes.—Pat Schneider
A writer is someone who cannot not write.—Sol Stein

Pat Schneider’s declaration is an affirmation of identity: “I am a writer.” Sol Stein’s aphorism is an affirmation of the need to write. I’ve rarely needed to affirm my identity as a writer, I’ve always just written.

I recently finished a major rewrite of a longish short story. Now I’m turning to work on my next MRR column. Last month I wrote about individual political changes, crossovers, and conversions on the Right and Left. Now I’m tackling the rise of and interplay between the New Left and the New Right using 1968 as a linchpin year. I started yesterday and, as usual, I’m attempting to write the history of the world in 1,500 words. In my remaining 500 words, I need to summarize how the New Right—in the form of the European New Right—seduced the New Left—in the form of the academic journal Telos. I have Tamir Bar-on’s brilliant book “Where Have All The Fascists Gone?” to guide me. Walk in the park, right?

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