So, the goal for this book (Howling) when it started was really just for me — a lowly undergraduate — to explore the poetry of Allen Ginsberg as well as my burgeoning interest in Native American Studies.
Then things got out of hand (as they always seem to do) — wonderfully, horribly, morbidly out of hand. McFarland Publishing picked up the book and, like every first book for everyone who loves writing, I accepted, bouncing and cheering — the lighting in the kitchen that day was absolutely perfect for the moment, triumphant and bold. Of course, I accepted (of course) not realizing quite how wild things could get — how I might come to question and fear myself as a non-Native attempting to write about and utilize the Native trickster Coyote through my analysis of “Howl” given my inability to escape my Euro-American-cultural-colonizer-whitewashed-knowledge base; how I might do the hearty works of Ginsberg, hearty works as “Howl,” a grand disservice through my attempted interpretations and close readings; how I might bore any future readers; disappoint past teachers and colleagues; insult possible future colleagues; humiliate myself; ruin my writing career before it even gets started; offend someone; insult someone; speak to no one..
Sometimes I think about this project, this project coming forward, the manuscript due a month and a half from now for peer review, set to be published in the middle of 2013, and I just dream about Delicious Connotations, my true hope (“pride and joy” ought to be reserved for works that are a fair bit better than this one), that was published ages upon ages ago in the wondrous little publication, Ellipsis, out of Salt Lake City. Even if this one crashes and burns, perhaps I can always just lay low in Utah and write under a quirky pen name like Ruby Brew.
Anyway, I’m in the throes now — trapped between an angry email from G.V., encouraging emails from G.S. and G.M., old letters from A.G., uncertain emails from some old pal professors, final papers for my own MA work, a personal project reinterpreting Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, and a killer ripping deadline for some reviewers (however generous and kind) to slice my book’s throat and scrawl critiques across the sky with its blood. All and all, things are looking up, I think.
I’ve nearly completed the first full full draft — 65,000+ words, 200+ pages (reaching up for 75,000 as the approximate goal), no blood but definitely a few tears, some cold sweats, and sickly yellow-scented nightmares. It looks like another scotch for the evening, maybe mixed with some hot chocolate and hot, curried chick peas and green beans — looking forward to another day of typing not-so-covertly in the office and wishing for the solace of the Peabody, where the writers go but cannot go (apparently, despite it being a public library, the toilets are private for JHU kiddos only — bear this in mind researchers the next time you sit down with a Diet Coke for company at the Peabody).
Keep a head up, keep looking forward (with a few peeks around), and I’ll keep sending out all the best vibes that I can.
Looking forward to Howling: Allen Ginsberg & The Trickster in “Howl” in 2013!!