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Having not read this novel in at least a decade, I am pleased to say that I still like it. I was afraid that I would not, that who I am now and how I write now and how I view the world now would have deviated to such a great degree from the me who wrote Silk that our worldviews — this me and that former me — would have become incommensurable. But this isn't the case. The book holds up well, and I'm proud I did such a good job with what was only my second novel. I am making quite a lot of minor changes, more than I'd thought I would, primarily smoothing out the grammar a little, standardizing commas, hyphens, semicolons, & etc. I'm dividing the more visually jarring "compounderations" with hyphens or simply making of them two words. Anyway, yes, it's going well.
One thing that struck me in particular yesterday was this passage:
And when she was thirteen she'd run away the first time, had been picked up by Florida state troopers, hitchhiking a few miles from the Alabama state line. Had finally spent a little time in juvie, and no one had really bothered to argue when she turned sixteen and dropped out of school. No one had come after her when she'd bought the bus ticket back to Birmingham with her own money. She'd walked from the Greyhound depot downtown, dragging an old duffel bag behind her. Military canvas crammed full of her ratty jeans and T-shirts and comic books like some gigantic olive-drab sausage. (p. 57, Roc mmp)
I have remarked more than once of the sometimes intentional, sometimes unintentional recurrence of "the white woman" in my stories and novels, beginning with Virginia Percel in The Five of Cups on up the legless albino in "the white dreams" and "In View of Nothing." However, this parallel with Spyder's return to Alabama and Dancy's exit from Florida in Threshold, and then "again" in Alabaster, was, I can honestly say, entirely accidental. It gave me pause, seeing it yesterday. Was Spyder a dress rehearsal for Dancy? Is Dancy merely Spyder Baxter seen from some other perspective? Then, when you reconsider "Bainbridge" in light of this passage, "Bainbridge" being the story where the events of Silk, Alabaster, Threshold, and Murder of Angels are finally brought into direct contact, all sorts of wormholes and literary Möbius strips and new resonances emerge. Most of the interconnectedness in my stories is intentional, but this parallel certainly was not, which probably makes it all the more meaningful.
I have held off on making this announcement until I had my schedule, but yes, I will be appearing at the Birmingham Public Library's Alabama Bound lit festival in April. Specifically, at 12:30 p.m., Saturday April 14th. It will be a very short sort of a thing, hardly even a real reading (as that's the way Alabama Bound works), but I will be answering questions afterwards and signing for a bit (I think a local Barnes and Noble will be providing copies of Daughter of Hounds and Threshold for sale). This is my first public appearance since November 2004, and I currently have no others planned.
Last night, Spooky and I watched the three-hour Galápagos special on the National Geographic Channel. Beautiful.
Okay. Back to the word mines...