As I am becoming pigeonholed as a writer, the stronger I feel about ruining that perception. Over the last couple of years, I have been called a writer of historical fiction. Of gangs. A crime writer. A writer of Irish background. A writer of Brooklyn and New York City.
All of these things are fine, but I openly admit to feeling frustrated at being branded.
I do think it’s important not to simply rebel against being branded, because then you’re just rebelling. The key is to write what you love, and in the process you ruin the branding. To love what you’re writing.
Therefore, I am starting a new project. A very exciting one. Exciting for me, that is. Maybe you’ll like it. Maybe you won’t. But I know I will.
In March of 2016, EXILE ON BRIDGE STREET will be published by Three Rooms Press. It is the second book in the AULD IRISHTOWN trilogy of historical novels. The third book will come out sometime afterward. In the meantime however, I have started writing something a little closer to the first book I had published, AN AFFAIR OF CONCOCTIONS (2009).
Although this new project was begun a few weeks ago, I’ve long thought of what other writing projects I wanted to do. I have even come up with titles, story lines, detailed characters, settings, allusions, plot twists and more.
The fact remained though, it was still fiction. It’s made up! I mean it’s all based on real events and experiences, but it’s not as tangible, or palpable as I want the next project to be.
While listening to a new and very cute couple speak to each other in a coffee shop recently (yes, I eavesdrop, I’m a writer/reporter without guilt) a few weeks ago, they were explaining to each other how big a role lies play in people’s everyday lives. But, if they wanted to stay together, they had to vow to always be honest with each other.
It was so cute hearing them make that promise. He kissed her from across the table, they held pinkies tightly and looked excitedly into each other’s faces.
“Honesty is sexy,” the guy said.
“The only thing sexier than honesty, is honesty in a thong,” she said.
The funniest thing about this? … It’s a lie. I just made it up. The conversation did happen, but I didn’t want to tell the story the way it actually happened. I wanted you to hear it a certain way. A writer tells stories, right? I mean you already knew that.
In any case, this new writing project I started is about honesty. There will be many lies and stories told within it, but the story itself is based on being truthful. So truthful, that it will lack the arch and conclusions fictional stories possess. There will be no didactic center, no meaningful allusions, no editorializing, no characters that represent immortal truths and no beginning, exposition and end.
In short, it’ll be like real life. Without conclusion, unless you make your own. Free-spirited and open to interpretation. And I like that.
A little idea of its contents? … Honesty, Paul Verlaine & Woman.
We’ve gone over honesty, so let’s attack the second part: Paul Verlaine! The bald-headed, absinthe drinking, French Parnassian/Symbolist poet who had a most famous homosexual relationship with a teenaged Arthur Rimbaud has long been one of my favorite “lives of the poets” story. He is kind of a narrator in this new project, but that’s about all I’m willing to say about it now.
The last part is “Woman.” Yes, just plain woman. Growing up with a single mother and a younger sister, I feel I have a closeness to women. I also feel like the world would be a safer place if women were to rule it. Women are still cursed, it cannot be denied, but they are on the rise. And it’s beautiful to see. Here in New York City you can see it more than in other places, I think. Hard working, career-minded, strong personalities in smart and colorful dresses, whip-like intelligence, unapologetic and yet genuinely feminine to the core.
Let’s do this!
“I’ll send you my reports, as long as you promise to read them with your senses.”
~LOVE AND MALADIES (2010)