SOUVENIRS OF FLORIDA'S FORGOTTEN COAST AND FLORIDA'S EMERALD COAST. February 15 - February 29. 28,000 words. A collection of 750-word newspaper columns written for the Gulf County Breeze, in a column called "Souvenirs." Getting a column in a home-owned community newspaper fires me up.
MEXICAN BUS FUMES IN PARADISE: THE NEW URBANISM REVISITED. March 1 - March 23. 24,000 words. Once SOUVENIRS OF FLORIDAíS FORGOTTEN COAST AND FLORIDAíS EMERALD COAST gets up and running under itís own steam, I snap it off and begin writing MEXICAN BUS FUMES IN PARADISE: THE NEW URBANISM REVISITED. Brenda is eligible for social security in June. I combine SOUVENIRS OF FLORIDAíS FORGOTTEN COAST AND FLORIDAíS EMERALD COAST and MEXICAN BUS FUMES IN PARADISE: THE NEW URBANISM REVISITED into a series of two books, Retirement in Florida: The Golden Years. Why revisited, and not reconsidered? I go and see for myself, report back what I find. I am a report writer. A master of the 750-word report. I see that RETIREMENT IN FLORIDA: THE GOLDEN YEARS is a book in two parts, rather than a series of two books. Then "Black Harvest," a novel, projected, adds itself. I write The Saunders Men. 24 poems. I drive over to Newport for the Wakulla Wingding. Meet people Iíd corresponded with, but didnít know. Grant Peeples cooks fried mullet and cheese grits. When I get back I see that the subtitle of RETIREMENT IN FLORIDA is TALES FROM THE BUSHED GENERATION, not THE GOLDEN YEARS. Everybody at the Wakulla Wingding was bushed. The company got the gold mine and we got the shaft.
BLACK HARVEST. March 22 - April 2. 22,000 words. Dave Johnson, D. J., has his trailer torched. His computer is destroyed. Itís okay because he has hard copy of everything heís written in a rental storage shed, off-site. In town. His shed is torched, too. Who could have done this to him? Is it because of something he has written, and published, at Balmy Breezes, in his "Pasquinades" column? Did he offend the wrong person? Rile up the wrong den of snakes? Generation of Vipers, Generation of Swine, a Bushed Generation. Watch what you say. Somebody may be listening. Carl Hiaasen says itís a columnistís job to kick ass. Whatever ass Johnson kicked kicked Johnson back. He was out of his league. They were playing keepsies, not funsies. Johnson met his match, and then some. It wasnít a fair fight. He was overmatched. It was sickening to watch. It was appalling. It was disgusting. The American schoolyard had beat him again. The schoolyard bullies had beat him again. You know who I mean. Youíre bushed too. Weíre all bushed. Writing the black novel after 9-11. The black novel is a collection of columns and a novella. And itís after 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. Compare Naomi Kleinís The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and Jeff Fauxís The Global Class War: How Americaís Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Futureóand What It Will Take To Win It Back.
FINAL CUT. April 4 - April 8. 8,000 words. I change the name of RETIREMENT IN FLORIDA: TALES FROM THE BUSHED GENERATION to COLUMNIST: A WAGE-SLAVE NARRATIVE. Iím not retired, Iím a working stiff. Writing columns before and after work. About whatís happening at work, and to my book about trying to combine writing and working full-time. Additional columns, as you might say. Occasioned by what happened to me as a result of writing RETIREMENT IN FLORIDA. Evil Genius was followed by Open Book. About what happened to Evil Genius. Jean de Florette was followed by Manon of the Spring. Theyíre just books. Or movies. I shorten the name of COLUMNIST: A WAGE-SLAVE NARRATIVE to COLUMNIST, by analogy with CUSTODIAN, and HANDYMAN. Even if the Gulf County Breeze dropped my column I am still posting it at The Daily Bulletin. I am still a columnist. Bleeto, short for Diablito, didnít have no tail, he had a very short tail. I donít have no column, I have a very small column. I publish a pamphlet, 13 Short Reviews of COLUMNIST.
THIS WILL EXPLAIN. April 9 - April 18. 8,000 words. The last book of COLUMNIST, "Final Cut," was short. Like a featurette on the bonus disk of a DVD. The first book of NOVELIST, "This Will Explain," is short. I always wanted to be a novelist. If you asked me what a writer was, Iíd say, "A novelist." A writer is someone who writes novels. Not creative nonfiction. Not collections of 750-word columns. Not memoirs about writing the black novel after 9-11, of after Hurricane Katrina, or after President Bush. Black novels. Black is the color of my bête-noireís heart. Grant Peeples shames me into taking BLACK HARVEST back up. Finishing it. Lopping off the scenes where Dave Johnson commits suicide, or has a heart attack, and starting over. Carrying on. Carry on, nurse. Stick a daffodil in your ass like a rectal thermometer and finish the job. Finish what you started. Sure, thereís a flower sticking out of your ass. Press on to Boulogne, brave boy. I call the pair of books, COLUMNIST and NOVELIST, Living Where the Beachcomber Weather Suits My Redneck Riviera Clothes. COLUMNIST is followed by NOVELIST, you see. I add the subtitle From Columnist to Novelist to Living Where the Beachcomber Weather Suits My Redneck Riviera Clothes. It's about becoming a novelist. How having a newspaper column helped me write the black novel, finally. I am fired. I file for unemployment. I change the subtitle of Living Where the Beachcomber Weather Suits My Redneck Riviera Clothes from From Columnist to Novelist to On the Dole in Point and Shoot. Please don't throw me in that briar patch, Br'er Fox.
BLACK HARVEST (CONT'D). April 19 - April 24. 14,000 words. Start at No. 56. Go on unemployment and start looking for a job. $113 a week is not enough to live on, but President Bushís tax rebate will hold us until I find something.
Home | About | Mail