On Saturday morning I sent "Big Bob and Little Bob" to some people I know in various ways, for different reasons.
It will be sent to some other people who will likely be going up on here.
How confident am I that this work is better than anything the people in that second group have ever published in their venues? It's not confidence. It is total certainty. I would put this story up against anything any person has ever made at any time in history. I have no compunction saying that. No qualms, no hesitation. If the outcome that I seek in all that I do, for the whole of my life, came down to this being true, or else I'd be made to suffer more, and the fates were going to give their verdict in the morning, I'd sleep so very well tonight. I know what I have made.
And it will be useful in exposing some people for exactly what they are. That's not the point, obviously, of the work, but if that has to happen as it makes its way into the world, so be it. That won't be a me thing--that will be someone else's problem. This is like a catechism: It's not the writing, it's not the track record, it's nothing I've done to anyone. Further, I know why what is there is there. So what does that leave us with? And what is going to be done about it?
I will also say that there is nothing so engrossing, and entertaining, in any medium, as this work, which I also believe contains the whole of life. It's all in there in some form or other. And someday, there will be millions of people who love it. The sooner the better, obviously.
It's good to have no started the formal assembling of Big Asks: Six Novelettes About Acceptance. I have taken so long with these works, tended to them with such care. I've written about the bag skate, and I'd say that I have bag-read "Big Bob and Little Bob," having done so what I'll estimate is 200 times, and there wasn't a single time when I did not cry at the end.
Even amidst the drudgery of saying, "Keep working on it, let's read it back again." It was always fully alive as what it is, no matter what and came through to the same degree.
There is still more time to be taken and care to be administered with the other five novelettes.
But the preface is now in place, and "Bob," and between them we're up to forty pages.
Here's what it's going to be in terms of contents:
Preface ("Our Acceptance"), "Big Bob and Little Bob," "Finder of Views," "A Listener's Story," "Six Feet Away," "Brothered," "Attic Cantata."
The works rotate first person, third person, first, third, first, third. The longest right now is "Brothered," at 12,000 words.
I've designed the cover, which comes from a central image in "Finder of Views." It's an interactive cover. The cover and the reader are involved with each other before the latter opens the book. I can't execute this cover, of course, but I know exactly how it should be.
You needed patience with Pamela. That was all she asked of you, without really asking it of you. She didn’t make a formal request, obviously. This feeling just came off of her that it was up to you to do the right thing, which she would continue to do on her end, even if you did not. She was joyous and loving, but if she asked you a question once, she was going to ask you that question a dozen times. That’s just how it was. And it was okay.
She’d remember things about you that you figured no one else did. Things you liked, things that had made you smile, your favorite kind of cake for your birthday. You got back from her more than you gave, which was really just your basic decency. She was always going to give you more. That’s who she was. Big Bob was her special buddy. Then Debbie died, and Pamela still thought of Big Bob that way, but Big Bob didn’t think of anyone that way.
That ability, or that nature, or whatever it was, had gone out of him, sucked into the cold, like when my dad had left our house that afternoon of the blizzard and the snow came in and blew its white dust halfway up the stairs. People make concessions to what other people are going through by pulling back, if only to protect themselves. That wasn’t Pamela. She didn’t love with qualifiers or from behind walls. She didn’t have to. She cared. Fully. It wasn’t a question of adjustment or tolerance or tongue-biting. She could take you as you were, totally, no matter what you were just then.
When you thought about that, what it meant, how amazing a way it was for someone to be, it really didn’t matter that much—it didn’t matter at all—that you might have to answer the same question a bunch of ways over. It was like paying a penny for the Taj Mahal, regarding which Terry owned a commemorative plate that she used to display with pride.