GOLDBRICK. June 4 - July 1. 40,000 words. I change the name of ME, the working title of this book, to GOLDBRICK. Me was Carlo Pittore's chapbook about Maine. University Press of Florida declines to look at the manuscript of HANDYMAN, but Pottersville Press accepts "Five Contes," for Literoticism.com. You lose some, you win some. I decide to enter A HANDYMAN PAST HIS PRIME: THE BLACK HEART'S-TRUTH in the noir novel writing contest for the Florida Noir Festival. I make the deadline with days to spare. Pineapple Press declines to look at HANDYMAN. I change the title of the series from Fishing Stories: Guy Lit to Guy Lit: Stories and Poems About Writing, Work, and Fishing. The series will be five books, about me and Bill and Uncle Potter, Owen and Balder, named after one person. They'll also be about music, cooking, camping out. Roughing it. I see that I will finish Guy Lit October 21. Five books of four weeks each. I change the title of Guy Lit: Stories and Poems About Writing, Work, and Fishing to Conversations With Jack Saunders: A Correspondence Novel. I am the Parker, Florida correspondent of the New York Correspondence School, founded by mail art artist Ray Johnson. If you've seen the movies How To Draw a Bunny and In the Realms of the Unreal, you know what the secret project about me, in post-production, will look like. Better than The Bukowski Tapes. Better than Born Into This. Heap wasn't born into it, he scratched a place out for himself by tooth and claw. Keratodontalism forever! Social Darwinism for people who don't believe in evolution. Why do I call it a novel? Well, it has a plot and characters, a setting and a theme. And the first thing an agent or an editor wants to know is, "What genre is it?" It's the correspondence novel, written, and published, in real time, and interactive, in that I respond to the comments of readers in the book. We see The Underpants, at Seaside Rep. We enjoy it. Balder and them play Gruene Music Hall, in New Braunsfel, and a dance hall in Leon Springs near Rudy's BBQ. A swap meet at the drive-in? This is where Waylon and Willy and Jerry Jeff Walker cut their teeth. They were in the bar where Billy Joe Shaver shot a man in the face who pulled a knife on him. Moral of the story being don't take a knife to a gunfight. Or, don't fuck with a person who lost his dog, his wife, and his son, all at once. What has he got to lose? His liberty? In Texas? Don't bet on it. On the way back, Jennifer and Balder rendezvous in New Orleans and stay in the French Quarter. Dread Clampitt are playing at the Mid City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl. The Big Easy. The City That Bush Forgot. We keep Rowan and Cale. Brenda took the week off. I took Wednesday off, to drive out to the beach. Race go-karts, go to Ripley's Believe It or Not! with Cale. Brenda bought herself and Cale used bikes, and hers has a baby carrier, so we can go on a family bike ride, and Cale can swim in Parker Bayou. Go to Renegade Skateboard Park, out by Haney Vo-Tech.
BILLY BUCK. July 2 - July 29. 40,000 words. Me and Bill, growing up. I wrote a few days ahead, on GOLDBRICK, so I could help Brenda babysit. When I started BILLY BUCK, I already had a leg up on it. Like Manon of the Spring following immediately on Jean de Florette, or Fay Grim taking up where Henry Fool left off. I get ready to give a presentation on "Writing the Black Novel After 9-11" at the second annual Florida Noir Festival. And a presentation at the Gulf Coast Writers Conference, on "I Imagine I Remember: Memoir and Novel as Complementary Approaches to Narrative Description (Storytelling)." I write a pamphlet, Voice, to distribute at the conferences. I have an accident at work, but they still hire me direct. Less than full-time, so they don't have to pay me any benefits. No vacation, no sick leave, no paid holidays. No medical insurance. The Bush/Enron economy. The Author Selection committee of the Vero Beach Book Festival turns down Postcards From Pottersville, Vol. 3, Adventures in the Underground. I change the name of Conversations With Jack Saunders: A Correspondence Novel to Handyman Confidential: I'd Rather Be Fishing. Wouldn't You? I'd rather be fishing than writing the Great American Novel, but here I am. Might as well make the best of it. My wound is not healing properly. They put me on light duty at work.
UNCLE POTTER. July 23 - August 3. 25,000 words. Brenda's brother. There's a hootenanny named after him. Potterfest. We go to Ponce de Leon Springs State Park for Cale's 12th birthday party. Start book a week early. That means the completion date of the series may change. Or the dates stay the same and the length changes. Change name of Handyman Confidential: I'd Rather Be Fishing. Wouldn't You? to Fired for Blogging; Book Rejected. Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy? Am I an injustice-collector? Do I bring the sack, and rejection, down on my own head? Why? What sick, twisted motives would I have to do that? Bukowski was about to be fired for absenteeism when John Martin gave him an allowance to quit his job, stay home, and write Post Office. I'm as good as Bukowski. I'm better than Bukowski. Better educated, more experienced. I was out there longer. He has the most freedom of any published writer in American literary history, but by going unpublished, or underpublished, I assured myself of more freedom. More freedom than Bukowski! Just by abjuring publication. By doing it myself. Keeping it in the family. Get 'em, Potter. Live in a VW van in Navarre Campground. Not on Bill Monroe's band bus. Work as a deckhand on the New Florida Girl out of East Pass Marina, in Destin.
OWEN. August 6 - September 2. 45,000 words. Older son. Went on the road with the Gillis Brothers at 16. I see that Fired for Blogging; Book Rejected is two books: OUTLAWS AND IN-LAWS and FATHERS AND SONS. Start pitching OUTLAWS AND INLAWS as a finished book. I start writing a pamphlet of poems, Oktoberfest 2007. We go to the beach house in Grayton Beach for Rowanís first birthday. Start calling Voice Voice. 5¢, by analogy with Pomes Pennyeach, or Advice, 5¢. Owen comes down for a week to help Gerald and Del move. Ella stays with us. She goes to Summer Camp at the L. A. (Lower Alabama) Folk Life Center for two days. Her first taste of school. Her face lights up when she sees her grandpa carrying trash bags out to the Dumpster. The annex is being torn down, so we move everything that has to be saved, or we think we can reuse, into the main building, and a mobile attic, outside. In 100º heat. With the power and water off at the annex and no power to the mobile attic. We is me and a temp from Labor Pool. I supervise him. I am a working supervisor. Iím too old for this. I see a position vacancy announcement at the public library for a job as local history archivist and submit an application. I see that what I am going to write next is called AMERICAíS GREATEST WRITER, and is about writing literature on the worldwide web. In 90 months I published 135 books at The Daily Bugle, roman-feuilleton.com, and The Daily Bulletin. Each book related to the one before it and the one after it. A remarkable feat. Unnoticed by New York. Well, maybe not. On a panel discussion of Andrew Keenís The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture, an update of neocon Norman Podhoretzís "The Know-Nothing Bohemians," on Book TV, a panelist mentioned me as a person publishing books on the web. Mentioned the Pro-Am ethic. Which my conclusion to Adventures in the Underground talks about. And which was the subject of the book: how roots music, folk art, independent film, and vernacular writing share the same punk-rock motivations and strategies as a result of the professionalization of the arts, where a person who will not fit himself or herself into the corporate mold is excluded and a person who will is facilitated. It isnít about talent itís about attitude. Can you be trusted to bite your own nuts off for a seat at the banquet table? I add a subtitle to AMERICAíS GREATEST WRITER. I SCORE A GRAND RETRIEVAL IN MY AFTER-YEARS. I get the schedule for the Gulf Coast Writers Conference, where I am giving a presentation on "Writing the Black Novel after 9-11," and realize that Writing the Black Novel After 9-11 is the subtitle of Fired for Blogging; Book Rejected. Andrew Keensí book is an extension of an article in the Weekly Standard. Itís important to answer the neocons. Especially after 9-11. I make it through Patriot Day, where I had to erect four 10 x 20 tents and move picnic tables and set up folding tables and chairs in the main exhibit hall with help from a volunteer. I am not looking forward to the Haunted Trail, in October.
BALDER. September 3 - September 23. 35,000 words. Younger son. Graduated first in his class at the John Phillip Sousa School of Music. Shot Expert. Was platoon highshooter. End book the weekend of Oktoberfest. I write a pamphlet of poems, Oktoberfest 2007, and sell them at my booth. BALDER is my 300th book. A milestone. I celebrate Jack Saunders Day at The Red Bar with Dread Clampitt and my coterie of steadfast readers, the Buzzard Cult. Keep it in the family. Stick with your friends. BALDER is a week longer than OWEN. What the heckóitís not an exact science. I see that AMERICAíS GREATEST WRITER is called AMERICAíS GREATEST UNDISCOVERED WRITER, and that, for Oktoberfest, instead of writing Oktoberfest 2007, I will write Report on Fired for Blogging; Book Rejected: Writing the Black Novel After 9-11. I will make copies for the Gulf Coast Writers Conference, in case I meet an agent or a publisher there who wants to know what I am up to lately. Iím up to 300 books. I watch Quiet Days in Clichy, with a featurette by Barney Rosset and a featurette by Country Joe McDonald, who did the music for the movie. I didnít apply for a job as a local history archivist at the public library, but if I did, I didnít get it. If I didnít get the job, it wasnít because Human Resources looked me up in Google and didnít hire me for blogging. But it might have been. How would you know? I write a pamphlet called Report on Fired for Blogging; Book Rejected: Writing the Black Novel After 9-11, to take to the Gulf Coast Writers Conference. I call my presentation the Scott Nearing lecture. In the College of Hard Knocks, an expulsion is often a promotion. I write a pamphlet called Quiet Days in Point and Shoot, for the conference. About attending a grant-writing workshop at the public library, and deciding to apply for a position as Florida Humanities Council Road Scholar. Brenda and I watch Rowan the weekend of the writers conference. At the writers conference, I win the noir novel writing contest I entered A HANDYMAN PAST HIS PRIME: THE BLACK HEARTíS-TRUTH in. So I started Fired for Blogging; Book Rejected: Writing the Black Novel After 9-11 wondering where to send A HANDYMAN PAST HIS PRIME: THE BLACK HEARTíS-TRUTH and I end Fired for Blogging; Book Rejected: Writing the Black Novel After 9-11 with the book winning the noir novel writing contest. I change the name of AMERICAíS GREATEST UNDISCOVERED WRITER, my next book, to CULT WRITER: SAVING LITERATURE ON THE INTENET. Then, writing it, I change it to CULT WRITER: I WRITE A BLACK NOVEL IN REAL TIME, OR, SAVING LITERATURE ON THE INTERNET.
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