In 1973, Paul Simon released the album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,” his second after splitting with longtime partner Art Garfunkel. It’s a great album, and it features a song which has long resonated with me, someplace deep inside of who I am. It shares a title with this post.
I suppose it’s the chorus that felt the most like it was written about me, even back then when I was only 13, and despite the fact that Paul Simon, though a lifelong hero, doesn’t know me from Adam. Here’s what he said:
When something goes wrongPaul Simon, 1973
I’m the first to admit it
I’m the first to admit it
But the last one to know
When something goes right
Well it’s likely to lose me
It’s apt to confuse me
It’s such an unusual sight
I can’t get used to something so right
Something so right
Now, of course, I’ve quoted his song without permission, so perhaps even though he’ll probably remain blissfully unaware of my existence, his lawyers might ring me up. But let’s set that potential disaster aside for the moment. That’s sort of the point of this whole post… setting disaster aside for the moment.
Because today is a good day. Here’s why:
That is a picture of the finished first draft of my latest novel. And any day that includes a finished manuscript is a very good day indeed.
Add to that the amazing smell of the dinner I’m preparing for us in the slow cooker, the continued crate of exploding happiness that is my now year-old pup who has decided that Autumn is his favorite season because there are so many leaves blowing around, (and anything that moves must want to play, right?), and you have the fixings for a good day indeed.
Now, as you may be able to tell from the image, there’s a good chunk of novel there, and as just about any writer will tell you, once the first draft is finished the real work starts.
In the case of Jelly Jars there are a number of challenges to overcome. I started writing it as a short story in 2017, but quickly realized it needed to stretch its legs beyond the scope of brief fiction, and kept working on it, eventually finishing nine chapters before setting it aside.
Perhaps if I’d not looked at it again until now, my worries could have been reduced, but I took it out from time to time and played with it, remembering each time why I kept coming back to it – (it was really good.) But those fits of starting and stopping can be dangerous, and I need to make sure the continuity of story and style don’t falter anywhere. Additionally I need to make sure I balance repeating motifs and themes with fresh action. I know there is at least one character whose emotional instability needs to be worked on, (not to diminish that trait, but to use it to maximum effect.)
And of course there’s the fact that I can cram more typos onto a page than just about any other author, living or dead. Before this MS leaves my hands I intend to iron out as many such issues as humanly possible, (given my limited mental capacity.) I think the writing in this book is strong enough to deserve my most intense post-first-draft effort since I wrote A Dark Clock which I edited so much that my external hard drive contains folders for sixteen drafts. Don’t believe me?
There are lots of other folders, but the ones numbered D1-D9 are full rewrites of D0.
I’m a good deal better at my craft now then I was back in 2015 when I wrote the first Cerah of Quadar, so I don’t require that many revisions now. I can usually cap it off with two or three. I’m shooting for three with this one, there already having been two. (This is a bit of a technicality, as the “first” first draft is the short story version).
That’s a lot of words to say that I’m having a hell of a good day, and it scares the livin’ ba-jeebus out of me.
You see, when something goes right, it’s likely to lose me.
But just for the hell of it, I think I won’t get lost. Yet.