Longhand, Steinbeck, Men

by Joni Abilene

I’ve noticed that my published stories have all been written in notebooks as opposed to a computer. I wonder why that is? I feel messy and out of sorts when I use a notebook and it takes me longer to actually sit down and start up, but there must be something to the ultimate freedom of not being stuck in front of a word program that allows me more creativity–the kind that editors love. But yeah, I am very reluctant to do the notebook thing. I’m afraid of all those empty pages with their sharp blue lines and messy margins (I doodle a lot). I’m worried I will close the notebook and forget it, lose it, accidentally drop it in a toilet, spill coffee on it. All those wasted words. But I think I will devote a little time this week getting back to longhand. We’ll see what happens.

I’m currently reading The Grapes of Wrath. Another reluctance, but I actually do love the book. Steinbeck was shoved down my throat in high school a few too many times, but I can see his mastery. He’s brilliant, and I am in awe. The voice, my God! The car sales chapter blew my socks off–I ain’t kidding. Geez, I want to dig up his grave and give him a huge smooch on the mouth. Sorry. Gross.

I had a good interaction with a publisher out of Oklahoma, Old American Publishing. They liked my Gerald & Izzy series in Woodsocket ’79, but are not ready for a full-length book yet. I was invited to submit something more in the novelette range when I’m ready. At first I was bummed out, but remembered the piece I’ve been hawking on about the Cimarron trailer. Betas really seemed to like the voice, and reading over it again I can see something really nice there. Plus it’s another male protagonist. I really love writing men, and I don’t know where that comes from because sometimes I hate the fuckers to death, but I sure do love writing about them.

And that’s about it. Take care out there.