On a Ledge Again

I’m done “rewriting” Moby-Dick. I recently arrived at the epilogue and set the book aside. I will finish the epilogue when the rest of the renga gang have also arrived there. Then we will finish it in the reverse order of our arrival. I’m excited and saddened to be nearly done with my part. I have also finished final edits of Gnarly Wounds over the summer. Now I’m poised on a precipice no less terrifying for its familiarity: I’m officially between projects, with no clear vision of what my next book is going to be.

The publisher of Gnarly Wounds wants me to immediately begin work on a new novel, and I have started preliminary research and sketches, but the future shape of the thing keeps eluding me in a static of potential energy. I’ve got an old project in the slow cooker, but it’s not the kind of thing I can suddenly toss in the oven. It’s meant to gradually rise, one phrase at a time, over many years. There’s also a play, but I halted work on that when I realized I hadn’t the time or know-how to get it produced.

I must confess though, undoubtedly to the consternation of those who would have me focus on fiction, that over the past several days, while reevaluating the work of John Ashbery and Frank Lloyd Wright, I’ve had a series of small revelations that have shown me the dim, seductive outline of a possible new poetry project. Yet I know it would be utterly impractical of me to not dedicate myself entirely to the novel now. So here I am, on a ledge again.

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