Friday, April 3, 2009

Time, Etc.

With two months till the publication of The Year That Follows word of the first review has come in, and it is good. Very good. Kirkus Reviews will publish the starred review in roughly ten days. An excerpt: ““A taut, masterfully controlled and profoundly moving novel about family ties—blood or otherwise… A novel with barely a wasted word or an emotion that doesn’t ring true.” I’ve also received a couple nice blurbs from Wally Lamb and Anita Shreve, which you can read by clicking here.

Jeffrey Eugenides just gave a talk in Aspen, during which he commented that when people learn he’s a writer, they tend to say things like, “I’ve always wanted to write a book, if I could just find the time.” As if writers have time not available to the general public. One of my very best friends happens to be a trauma surgeon, and he assures me that no one ever says to him, “I’ve always wanted to save lives as a trauma surgeon, but I just haven’t had the time.” I wrote my first novel, Battle Creek, while working at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers. I typically left my house for work at 5:15 in the morning, and returned home between 7:30 and 8:00 in the evening. These jobs didn’t offer breaks, or even a lunch hour. I rarely slept five hours a night. I was a younger man then—I’m not sure I could do it now—but the point is simple: if you want to write a book, you will.

Which isn’t to say it’s easy—to write or to find the time. I’ve got two careers and two kids, and a need to sleep at least a few hours every night. Thus, after belittling excuses about finding time to write, here I am making them. I’m trying to explain why it’s taken a whole month to come up with another 400 word blog entry. I’m sure I could whip off twice that many words on procrastination, but I’ll hold off. I’ve got a daughter I’ve got to wake up and get to school.