As part of a "blog hop" I was tagged by the writer Sally Bellerose. (Have you read her novelThe Girl's Club?) So, now I'll answer the same questions she did about a work in progress. And at the bottom of the post, I've linked to Libby Ware, who's the next Wednesday author on this "hop." Okay, let's go.
What is the working title of the book? Titles, sheesh. I'm so bad with titles. But this is a collection of personal essays and some of their individual titles are "Rolling in the Mud," "A Certain Loneliness," "I Am Here, in this Morning Light," "The Last Period," "Horror in the Okefenokee," "Poster Children," and "The Wild and Wooly Waccasassa."
Where did the idea come from for the book? I'd always thought of myself as a fiction writer since I always had a novel going. From time to time, I'd intersperse the novel writing with a short story or personal essay and these essays, more than anything else, kept getting published. So I'd write more of them. And more would get published. At this point six of them are out there (or about to be out there) in journals that include New Letters, The North American Review, Arts & Letters, and The Alaska Quarterly Review. The anthologies First Person Queer and Something to Declare: Good Lesbian Travel Writing printed a few more. The word count of all these essays combined is becoming book-length respectable. When I started judging book covers from the perspective of what I'd want for mine, that's when I knew I was working towards a collection.
What genre does your book fall under? So on the flyleaf, under the ISBN, the Library of Congress subject listing would be, in no particular order – Personal Memoir, Disability, Lesbian, Nature Essays.
Which actors you choose to play your characters in the movie
rendition? The natural world of Florida would be one of the main characters, and I'm the other "main character" so I'm not thinking the film rights are going to get snatched. But since you asked, for the younger me's, I'm sure there are all sorts of up and coming braces and crutches and wheelchair-using actors that would do a great job. For the old me, I'd want Linda Hunt for sure. Oh, oh, oh – I can so hear her as the voiceover throughout the movie.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? This collection is the love-child of Lucy Jane Bledsoe's The Ice Cave and Kenny Fries' The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory.
What is the longer synopsis of your book? As a disabled baby, child, teenager, and a young and now aging adult, my life has flourished within a world of uncertain tomorrows. I've negotiated my way through the mud and sand of Florida and felt a permeability between my body and these environments whose survival is dependent upon the extremes of flood, drought, and fire. In response, I'm working on a series of essays that layer together my travels with the particular journey of my own body. Now, all sorts of people with all sorts of disabilities write all sorts of things, but I've noticed that there are some common characteristics, and one of them is that we almost never leave the body out of our writing. The physical cannot be ignored. The challenge in an essay is to write about the details of the body and the ways it moves through the world—the tiresome frustrations, the slapstick moments, the grand triumphs—but wind them within the long history of humans and our relationships to the earth.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an
agency? I'll for sure send some queries out to agents, but I'll also be submitting to university and independent presses.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your
manuscript? My first essay ever was published by Common Lives/Lesbian Lives in the eighties, and I scribbled a yellow pad draft of the latest yesterday.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? I've already mentioned the collections by Kenny Fries and Lucy Jane Bledsoe, but I'd have to add Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams and all of Jack Rudloe's books. And there was this moment, after I'd finished that last brilliant, poetic chapter of Janisse Ray's Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, that I just knew I wanted to be a serious writer. And the language in Jackie Kay's Red Dust Road - I always hope for a smidgen of something like that in my work.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? There are alligators.