Yesterday I had my final meeting with the first reader on my paper. Promptly went home, put in all necessary revisions, and emailed that sucker off to my second reader. A giant boulder has been lifted off my shoulders, and I can (briefly) breathe.
The details: I met with my first reader nine times between Dec. 13 and Feb. 19, with one week off for the holidays and one week postponed due to illness. I typically submitted in 3-7 pg. chunks. The final draft is 25 pages long (with four charts), not including five pages of citations (nearly 100 sources). I generally managed to salvage from two paragraphs to around a page and a half every time I generated new material; the rest was often reworked, rewritten, or cut in such a way as to be unrecognizable from its original state. My conclusion is still “lame,” but it’s a response to a hypothetical, so I can’t conceive of an answer that wouldn’t have been lame.
Also, dear John D’Agata: please stop critic-baiting so I can write about you? I thought About A Mountain came as close to an anti-memoir as anyone’s managed, and I had fun analyzing it in that context, but what made the book interesting has been completely obscured beneath a truckload of criticism of its truth claims. Ugh. Some days, the state of nonfiction makes me sadface.
And now, some happy news: Again with the basking in reflected glory, but another Clarionaut friend has been kicking ass and taking names. I adored these stories when we got advance-sneak-previews of them at Clarion; I’m thrilled that Bo’s babyfoxes are out in the world (and adopted into such excellent homes)! Many, many bearhugs, Brooke the Red. [Note: This pic was snapped the last day of Clarion, hence our tragic expressions.]