How to Write first novelThe first novel
Like not writing your first novel
Next thing I ever thought of was in the autumn of 1991 in a small Maine city named Ellsworth. I' d been in Boston the whole post-graduate season working on a guidebook for Mexico, but I knew that wasn't what I wanted to do with my own world.
I wanted to write fiction. All I wanted was to write it in desperation. When September came and the guidebook went into print, I purchased a Subaru GL, tart in 1985, and headed westwards to find a place to write. By this point in my whole lifetime I had been writing a few handfuls of shorts, a small number of which had been featured in collegiate journals.
I was planning to go until I got to a suitable small city, get a spot on a card somewhere, get a gig in some inconspicuous services business, fell in sweet melancholy with the lonesome bookseller, and write my work. After dropping off an ex-girlfriend at her parent's in Queens, I was driving through the Pennsylvania factory landscape when it got softer in the first falm-rain.
I' ve been driving all morning, no particular target in my head; I thought I'd know when I saw it. Then one night I paused at a side of the road to take a piss and a flock of barbecues jumped out of the gras in a sturdy rock face towards me, causing me to drop backwards into the middle.
I found an empty pitch, a cul-de-sac or a disregarded spot at the end of the day, put the Subaru's front row driver's chair back to the stop and slept in my sub. I thought I was some kind of novelist wiz? So I stayed another evening in the front seats and was woken up by a peasant who chased me out of his pitch where I had left my vehicle in the darkness.
So we went to his place together and phoned a parking lot. My visions of a city in Idaho's dustiness could be transformed into a visions of a cosy Maine cottage steeped in a cold, quiet year. That'?s the thing for a novelist!
Driving through Portland - which was enchanting, but did not seem northern or external enough - and stopping just before Bangor - I did not want to exaggerate - leaving me in Ellsworth, Maine. By the time I finished my studies, I really thought that the creativity of living was the culmination of man's livelihood and that working on an everyday business was a treachery to that live, and I had to follow that live at all cost.
A flat in Ellsworth, a stumpy piano of a farm house that the landlord had turned into a rented property, was found on a sparse gravel track outside the city for a mile. Except for the bath room, which was technical inside only with a few thin pieces of wood and did not deliver more than 60 seconds of warmth.
This was my first full-timers' learning curve, and I could write five or six lessons a days, but it still gave me a great deal of unbearable disposable space, so I took a long walk. Take the unpaved path to the lefthand side and you will come to a spooky Whitsun chapel with cladding.
I was driving when I wasn't running. This was the case of Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls" and U2's "Mysterious Ways", two perfect honest tracks that I never want to overhear. Returning behind a drugstore there was a room full of archery matches, and I was spending my time in front of an arcane but coercive side-scroller named Heavy Unit, in which you steered a two-dimensional vessel with laser and bomb through a cave that was enemy and even death.
I' ve also been spending a great deal of my life in the book. This was the first autumn I had ever been out of the classroom and I had never been so lonely. I' ve written a great deal, but unfortunately I' ve not written very well. I' d spend my studies worshiping the modern- Joyce, Kafka, Proust, Hemingway, Woolf.
Thought Mrs. Dalloway was the most complete novel of the twentieth centuries (I still think so). I had just been reading Donald Barthelme's Snow White, which seemed like a gateway to the novel's splendour. However, if you want to write like Donald Barthelme, it is not good enough to be a virtoos.
Friday and Saturday night in Bangor, 45 mins away, there was a 23-and-under nightclub, and I went up a few flights, desperately for people-to-people. I' ve already had a lot of my own fears and the whole period I spent alone had made it much, much worsen.
Elssworth was highly reliant on holiday resorts and drained in autumn. I had posted a resume there, and she phoned the number to it, not to give me a position, but because she and I were virtually the only ones in our early 20s around the area.
At a certain stage I still didn't think I could be alone, although it stared into my face all morning and allightight. That' s what I really thought because I wanted to be a novelist, which made me different from other people: secretive, self-contained, a lonesome monster, Han Solo.
However, at the end of November my mind began to decline under the burden of all this loneliness and empty times and bloody bloop. She was asleep at nocturnal, probably because of the coldness, but when the heat of the day came out in horde packs, and I spend a few hour sneaking around the flat.
I was undressing one December nights when the weather had dropped to 15 degrees and I was running around on the grass in the nude just to see how it felt. I had Maine trying to learn me, but I was a little bit slow at school. Thought I' d gone to Maine to face my daemons and turn them into works of arts, but it turned out that I couldn't face them, and not only couldn't even find them.
I' ve tried to write about what I knew, which was probably not a poor concept in itself, but I was wrong about what it was. and Maine wouldn't want to tell me. For the first in my life I heard the Nirvana song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on New Year's Eve, which I listened to on the Nirvana album.
It was the cellar where he kept his cucumber casks, and later in the evening, when I was the most lonely and mad, I broke open the castle and sneaked down there. So, I stayed alive for another two month before I stopped, six month in total.
After that I was telling them that I was leaving because I ran out of cash, which was objective, but it wasn't the same. Really, the reality was that I was leaving because I was tired of being cool and alone and a miserable pen. I' d at last come to the turning point when the poverty of being alone in Maine prevailed, the poverty of having to acknowledge to myself that it didn't work, that I needed other humans and that I wasn't a brain.
I' d have confessed to everything as long as I didn't have to stay in Maine. I was so reliefed when I decided to abandon Ellsworth that I felt like I was light. So I remained up all dark and packed everything I had into the Subaru and just as the skies began to show the blues of cornflowers on the skyline.
When I left the city - the car played "Tangled Up in Blue" - then I went back to the city, when I realised that I had forgot my only good cooking utensil, then I went out again, this one for ever. Since then I have not been in the state of Maine.
I have since learnt that perhaps creativity is the culmination of mankind, but either way it's not what I thought. They can work in an agency - I have worked in agencies for the last 15 years, writing five books.
Forgiveness for the creativity of life: He is the leading literary and technological contributor to Time Review and a widespread culture reviewer. He' s also the creator of the New York Times bestselling novel The Magicians and The Magician King. Today, August 5, his latest novel, The Country of Magicians, was released by Victoria.