DEAR FRIENDS, 3/12/2012

Will miracles never cease? On the poetry.org bestseller list for February 12th, 19th, and 26th HAPPY LIFE, was back in the top 30, just barely, at #30. Why this has happened after being off the list for a month is anybody’s guess. It surely isn’t because I’ve been running around the country reading from and flogging the book, because I haven’t been. January, February and March are my months to hunker down in the mid-winter and get some new writing done, which I’ve done by rewriting my novel, BROKEN WING and by getting started on a new/old novel, SAMOVAR AND ZEEMAHOOLAH. I’m grateful for those increased HAPPY LIFE sales nonetheless, especially since I had nothing to do with them.

On the other side of the equation–a writer’s life is often like this–my agent shot down my rewrite of my novel, BROKEN WING. She said, “Like THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA the writer guides us to look and learn from the world around us. . . . But unlike the setting and story of Hemingway, the passive musing doesn’t engage in the way I think it needs to for this manuscript to “work:”. . . .The writing is good, strong, and appropriate, but the engagement in the “bigger picture” isn’t yet successfully accomplished.” She may be right, but the thing is, I’ve spent the past few months totally engaged with this story and its rewrite and now I’m off to another story and I don’t have the energy or the inclination to go back to work on BROKEN WING again, even if I did know how to deal the this criticism, which I don’t.

I made pretty good progress on SAMOVAR AND ZEEMAHOOLAH this past week. I’ve got the first couple of chapters drafted: the introduction, the story of the murder of Zeemahoolah’s mother by Narg and Gorn Bap, and how Zeemahoolah and the chickadee–not yet named–get together.

This week I have to take a couple of days out to go down to Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, to see a few minutes of my play, THINGY WORLD!. In 1989 Jonathan Lash commissioned me to write this play when he was Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources. Jonathan is now president of Hampshire College and this play and the other presentations on Wednesday, March 13, are part of his inauguration festivities, culminating on April 27 with the actual inauguration and a keynote address by Al Gore.

And on the PARK SONGS, A POEM/PLAY, front, the book is mostly designed. We’re going to do an unusual thing with this book and have a separate font for each character in the book, 18 characters, 18 different fonts, thinking that may help people keep the characters straight, separate from each other. PARK SONGS, A POEM/PLAY, will be published on the anniversary of The Occupy Movement in September.

More next week.

Sincerely, David Budbill