A Beggar Prepares to Plunge

A few times recently, it’s been quite generously and kindly suggested that I ought to write for a living. Well, it hasn’t totally been for lack of trying.

I’ve always written. The first money I ever made on my own work was the “books” I’d write at my grandparents’ house in NYC in the summers, typically about 5 pages of drawings and scribbles which I’d staple together and sell to them and my parents for 10¢ a book. I wrote my first novel when I was in 7th grade; it was utterly horrible—387 handwritten pages of just the most dreadful dreck you can imagine, but it still felt like quite an accomplishment.

I wrote another in high school, also composed long-hand, which an acquaintance asked to read, and then never returned. It wasn’t a great loss; it also suffered from some pretty severe suckitude.

The third was in college, and I worked on it endlessly, never feeling like I got it quite right. That’s the one that I deleted with the press of a button one day, and it was no great loss, although one of my friends went around for weeks telling everyone that I had carelessly deleted the seminal work of the greatest writer of our generation. With a penchant for hyperbole like that, he ought to have been the writer.

I finally finished something of which I was proud, and the intent was never to submit it for publishing, until a few friends read it and begged me to try. So I did. And I sent it out to a slew of literary agents, receiving in return the most kind and frustrating rejection letters you’ll ever see. Brilliant work. Someone should definitely publish it…but not me. Too literary. Too literary. Well, perhaps that was just a nice way of saying it was boring, I don’t know.

Nonetheless, I kept trying until my computer crashed and I lost both the manuscript and the list of agents which I had compiled. (Yes, I know. Backing up my work isn’t my strong suit.) So it’s just been sitting here for a couple of years, one print-out of the whole thing, and I’ve finally started putting it back in an electronic format again. While I was at it, I figured I’d make it available for anyone who wants to read it. It’s been read by men and women, and enjoyed by both, although everyone who’s read it has been a devout lover of books, which is sort of what it’s all about. Chapter 7 provides this passage, which if I had to pick one to sum it up, this would be it:

For anyone who spends so much time in books, life is a riddle to be solved, and the potential for discerning the wholeness of its meaning appears less elusive as one unearths in literature the clandestine clues within. It is the great illusion, and hence inexorable appeal, of the written word that questions might be answered and journeys culminate. But the passionate reader knows the search goes ever on, the only indisputable knowledge to be gleaned that definitive meaning will always remain as frustratingly ungraspable as it is for those who don’t search at all.

I guess if that speaks to you in any way, you might enjoy the rest.

Or not.

In any case, the first nine twelve chapters are up here. I’ll keep adding as time allows.

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