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The ten thousand things and the one true only.

by Kip Manley

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5 x 5.

So the first pass at no. 27, “ – tends to crumble – ”, weighs in at 19,148 words; bloated, even for a first draft, but that’s not why it took so long, I don’t think? Why I think it took so long is maybe because there are a couple of thornily difficult scenes, not so much because of what it is they’re about, as how they go about it, the disjunct I kinda shoulda known I was vulnerable to, what with on the one hand the o’erweening desire to tell it slant, to write the negative space, to play (to be) the fool, while on the sternly insistent other hand, the one that would touch on, deal with, handle, incorporate, come to grips with—topics?—subjects?—themes?—that demand a more direct, or rather less coy, approach. —Despite the conventional wisdom of the error in serving two masters, I think I’ve done justice to both—but I am but one reader, at this point. Each of everyone else will be left to determine my success on their own.

So that, or most of that, I wrote a couple of weeks ago. But then I set it aside, and set to trimming and revisions instead (it’s down to 16,205 words now, which is just about final), and spent some time structuring no. 28, and laying out some of the stepping stones I’ll maybe need to get to 33. I had an odd conversation with someone who doesn’t know anything about City of Roses about trying to speak plainly in negative space, and fell to stammering when I realized I was quoting myself. I looked back at some of the earlier versions of this sort of post (one, and two, and three and four), and blanched at the blithe hope that I might have finished no. 27 by June—having meant, you see, at the time, by June one year ago. —Ah, well. The story continues.

No. 27 will be going out to Patreons in a week or so, and then will have its online première here in August—let’s say Monday the fifteenth, to make no. 27 the first installment of the second decade of City of Roses. —While we’re on the subject of Patreons, I should mention I’m looking to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the launch of this enterprise with a (slightly) redesigned volume one, to be made available through channels other than Amazon’s narrowing straits; the more attentive among you might’ve noted this is part of the $100 Patreon goal, and we’re a few dollars short yet of that mark. I’ll put out the new edition whether or not we cross the goal, but do feel free to help push things along with your own contribution: there’s volume two, and the website itself, to redesign as well. (I could sweeten the pot by noting that Patreons have already seen the covers for the eleven chapbooks of volume three, and some raw possibilities for volume four, among other glimpses behind the scenes.)

But enough rude commerce. Gordon’s checking his birds. The story continues; ah, well.

—posted 227 days ago

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