Scrooge book all day tomorrow.
News as such--which was not really news--of the day was that I did my final sign-off on Brackets. This is a letter about a forwarded letter (below) about the book:
"As I said on your voicemail, I am fairly shocked by how good this book is. Made almost entirely out of frustration, then worked at and worked over, I can be as confident in it as anything I've ever done. It's my White Album.
"Going over the file, I saw just how hard I must have worked at some of the stories in the rewriting period--'Laying Sheets,' 'An Incident in Cathedral Romance.'
"The Padraig and Lorcan story--'The Effect of Gravity Upon the Tub'--is sheer delight. Weird, spooky, funny, harrowing, wonderful delight.
"There will be little to no need to rewrite much of Longer on the Inside. But these Brackets stories were written over twenty years. Twenty years for me is 500 years for someone else.
It's also a very transatlantic book. English, American, and Irish. It may be the most limitless book I know, in certain ways. It's radical and it's awesome and it has massive, massive balls, and I am very proud of it. Bonkers and ballsy to start a book the way this one starts. And 'EAP and Abe' comes after a young adult story. All of it is just so wild and exciting. It is the extreme opposite of anything that anyone in publishing is doing or would dare to do or has the brains or spiritedness to do.
"It's also a farewell to an artist I no longer am. (See how I did that? Like a pun.)" ---------- Original Message ----------
From: COLIN FLEMING < To: Cc: Date: 04/20/2021 10:31 AM Subject: Brackets file attached "Again--massive apologies. "Here is the file. "I made some (light) changes and caught a few things. Stray punctuation, misspellings, typos. "The book is awesome. It's very clearly unique. In some ways, I had no idea it was at this level. The rewrites were obviously important and transformed the whole. These were works written over twenty years. Though I don't think anyone would ever think that, or could ever think that. My great surprise, in part, was how well it works together.
"Certain stories, I have regarded, as obvious pleasers--'Yellow Hammers,' 'Rimer's Boots,' 'One-Way Zebra.' I knew what 'Brackets' was, in terms of its quality. The epiphany for me--and again, the rewriting was crucial to this--is the stunning quality of 'EAP and Abe,' 'Red Sweatpants,' 'An Incident in Cathedral Romance,' and 'The Effect of Gravity Upon the Tub.' There is nothing in here that I honestly feel is better than anything else in here. The beginning and closing works are also perfect bookends to this singular volume. "You have the dedication to Dan. This is the list of acknowledgements: "Brackets"--PEN America "Blinkered"--AGNI "My Death Tie"--The Ampersand Review "Analogues"--The Hopkins Review Sequentials--Conjunctions "A Deuce Cross"--AGNI "Red Sweatpants"--The Literary Review "Junction Regale"--TriQuarterly "One-Way Zebra"--The Massachusetts Review "Rimer's Boots"--Bull "Laying Sheets"--Boulevard
"Brackets, Cheer Pack, they are the conclusion of an earlier phase of my art and career. Dan has had a front row seat, and can speak to where I am at, what I am doing, and how much of it. For me to try to say so in a note such as this would almost sound as if I am lying or exaggerating. You have the sampler/file of Longer on the Inside and what that is about. There is nothing like it. And it's not something I could have done two years ago. "You've been kind to me. It has been a very hard period, as Dan can also speak to. A historically hard period. "Your kindness has helped. I will not drag things out forever with whatever, moving forward."
I did a lot of head work tonight on a bunch of stories: "Pre," "Up the Sea," "The Neighborhood Leo, "Eede Upstairs," "The Shape of the Shore," "Water States," "Sensible Heat," "Wellness, Check." It's a lot to do simultaneously. The way it works is I listen to a lot of people tell me their stories.