I'll admit that at the sight of Yankee fans stunned and sobbing on the news yesterday, I felt a twinge of remorse. It soon passed, however. Damn it, no team should win the World Series four years in a row! And certainly not five years in a row, as the Yankees have done not once but twice in their storied history. Listen, folks, baseball is a game. It has nothing to do with the resilience of New York or the unflinching American spirit or anything like that. It's a game. Suck it up, you pinstriped hysterics. (Note: That was not at you, Artemis. You are not a pinstriped hysteric.)
Work continues on the Beautiful Man-in-the-Closet Story. I write four hundred words a day, sometimes more. Sometimes lots more. But always four hundred, at least. I have never written in drafts before; I have always performed the bulk of my editing on the fly, while I was writing the story. Sometimes weeks would go by when I felt I was making no real progress, but when I finally did get the words down I usually liked them. Now it's the other way around: though the speedy increase in word count is intoxicating, I am not as confident in the quality of what I'm writing.
I am hoping that, rather than being evidence that my endeavor is doomed from the start, this is simply the first indication that writing a book is qualitatively different from writing a short story. When I write a short story I spend most of my time asking myself how the damned thing is going to end, because I don't usually know when I start out. Then slowly, slowly, I pick my way toward my destination. This is different: I know how the story begins and I think I know how it ends, but there's so much in the middle that I feel the need for a map. Right now I'm hoping that I'm drawing up the map -- and not, say, building a cage in whose confines I will find myself trapped. But I don't know for sure, because I've never tried this before.
What if it turns out that I can't build a story in layers, that I have to do it slowly and all at once rather than in several discrete passes? What if the skeleton I am building turns out to be an exoskeleton, whole and hollow and impenetrable?
Well. Then I'm screwed.
That was easy.