“The Next Big Thing” was created by writer and poet Zoe Brooks at 9:00 a.m. on August 22, 2012, on She Writes, a community, virtual workplace, and emerging marketplace for women who write. “The Next Big Thing” is a blog hop of authors and poets answering questions about what they’re working on and tagging other authors and poets. Each tagged author/poet answers 10 standard questions about his work and then tags five other authors/poets, so on and so forth until every author or poet in the galaxy has been tagged. By my calculations there are already over 716,000 tagged authors/poets in this great chain of being. Tagging involves referencing someone’s name while associating it with a hyperlink addressing that person’s blog. You can crawl over this hyperlinked network of creative blogs to your heart’s content. I have the honor of having been tagged by Sabine Huynh, a lovely, talented, and sensitive poetess, writer, and translator whom I know and admire and who exists somewhere between Tel Aviv and Paris. I was supposed to choose five poets whom I also know and admire, but only one poet-friend, Michael Dickel, a multi-talented poet, writer, artist, and photographer fulfilled all the conditions. All my other poet-friends, excellent poets all of them, either didn’t exist in the blogosphere, weren’t working on a book (see what I have to say about writing poetry books below), or didn’t have the time to continue this great wave of authoritative self-promotion. So, I’ll tell you what – if anyone reading this is willing and able to fulfill the conditions of being a tagged author/poet, let him comment to this post providing his or her name and blog address. I will tag the first four of them in an update to this post.
Without further ado I will answer the questions about my works in progress. Yes, I’m working on two books. I hope you won’t mind my talking about both of them in this post. You see, I’m bi-textual. So is Sabine.
What is the working title of the book?
Yet another Book of Poetry. The title is somewhat suggestive of a sequel to my first book of poetry, short prose, and journals, The Uncollected Works. YABP also follows the old Unix tradition of YACC (Yet another C-Compiler) and other books on various subjects whose titles begin “Yet another … something or other”.
Whirlpool. The title did not come from a washing machine, but from a treacherous swirling body of water ingathering and dragging down anyone drawing too close to it.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Yet another Book of Poetry: Well, I had to stop writing my first book of poetry some time so that I could publish it. Then I had to start a new book so that I would have a place to put my new poems. I don’t believe anyone really ever has an idea to write a book of poetry. I think we have ideas for writing poems, one at a time, and after a while we kind of collect them together and stick them in a book.
Whirlpool: Even though this book is the third in a series (The Rational Series), a sequel to the first two so to speak, the idea for this book had been conceived before the other two books. One might say I wrote the other two books so that I could write this one.
What genre does your book fall under?
Yet another Book of Poetry: I guess I’d have to say the genre under which my book falls is poetry. Would organic poetry be a legitimate genre? No, I didn’t think so. What about specific ambiguities?
Whirlpool: It’s an experimental novel, primarily science fiction but with a heavy dose of psychoanalysis, and lyric poetry. The first two books were more mainstream science fiction with just a touch of poetic license.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Yet another Book of Poetry: Catherine Zeta-Jones would play every beautiful muse and Sean Connery would play the poet. My boxer Daisy would have to play the part of my dog. Nobody else would be credible.
Whirlpool: That’s a tough one. My characters are pretty much based on people I know and myself, but most of the readers would not know these people. That said, I suppose Ellen would be played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lem would be played by Liam John Neeson, Yani would be played by Zoe Saldana (Neyteri in Avatar), the nameless “hero”, from whose vantage point the whole book is written, would be played by Sean Connery, the Tin Man would be played by Jack Haley (dead unfortunately) or Michael Richards (Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld), and Leonard Vitruvius would be played by Daniel Craig (James Bond from Sky Fall).
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Yet another Book of Poetry: Poetry invents the language in which it is written and sometimes, when it feels like a poem, it really is.
Whirlpool: There are limits to rationality and words can kill.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Yet another Book of Poetry: I haven’t finished the first draft yet. If my previous book of poetry is any indication, this one should take me another 45 years to complete.
Whirlpool: Although my first two books took 8 months each, this looks like it could take a lot longer.
What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
Yet another Book of Poetry: That’s easy – none. I write what I want or need to read but can’t find anywhere else. If I were to find a book with comparable poems or stories, I wouldn’t have written this one. I usually google stuff before I write about it, just to make sure it doesn’t exist.
Whirlpool: Same answer as above.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Yet another Book of Poetry: Beauty, love, and the contemplation of suicide.
Whirlpool: Love, too much love. I fell in love with the characters of my books and I can’t let go of them. I suppose I am inspired by my own characters.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Yet another Book of Poetry: Many of the poems start out going in one direction and end up somewhere else, in a place you’d never have expected, but exactly where they should be. Others feel like something sharp and solid in your hand and then they just seem to evaporate. Here’s a snippet from the book:
“… The sunset,
Your eyes through which flow the sea,
It’s you that makes the sea lovely,
Without you it’s only a sea.”
Whirlpool: There are three major threads spiraling inward. Although no one can see how, they will all converge at the end. The reader is likely to lean over the edge of rationality, see himself looking up at him, and lose his balance. Here’s a snippet from the book:
“The Thot was hidden in a meme ensconced in a word encoded in an electromagnetic wave propagated back from the gnab gib at a speed that had no meaning in the physical universe. Why couldn’t the Thot have a name? Even ghosts had names. Even time could have a name. Especially time. So why not a Thot? What would he call himself? What did it matter what he called himself? Who would call him by that name? The name he so wanted to be called by. He decided to call himself Exim, Exim the Thot. It had a kind of tintinnabulous ring to it.”
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Yet another Book of Poetry: Self-published.
Whirlpool: Also self-published.
March 22, 2013