Dmitri Nabokov plans to anger his father’s ghost by publishing Vladimir’s last, unfinished novel.
It would be a tough to be an executor, not to mention the son or daughter of an artist, and have to decide whether or not to ignore final wishes. I’d say that Dmitri, at 73, has spent a good long while thinking about this (his father died in 1977); this is not a rush to publish. If anything, it’s a roll up a steep cliff. That the novel is written on index cards, and that Dmitri does not plan to add to it (appropriate I think), means it will be brief. And nothing published at this point will remove from Vladimir’s legacy or legitimacy as a master storyteller. But I still wonder at the wish for the work to be destroyed. A great artist is their own best editor and critic, and as such, had he lived Vladimir would have decided for his own purposes whether to publish the work or not. That’s been taken away from him. I have a hard time knowing if I think that’s fair or appropriate.
I am reminded that Steven Erickson, when his novel “Days Between Stations” was sold, returned home and destroyed every novel he’d written up to that point. Nothing of those unpublished works will see the light of day – his control over that is ensured.
But not for Vladimir.
What about you? Have you that embarrassing novel or story floating in a drawer somewhere? Should you ignite it now while you still have the chance?
Now it looks like the earth has a better shot at getting hit by an asteroid than I do of getting my book published.
This NYTimes article about Jason Segel (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “How I met Your Mother”) nicely illustrates how you have to be ready to put yourself in harms way to get your vision out there. Or, alternatively, how you have to put your ding-dong on the screen to be true to your art. It seems that Mr. Segel wrote a humiliating, nude, break-up scene for himself in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Bravo. The article goes on to say how he did this because when it had happened to him in real life he realized that it was too good a moment to ignore.
The article also recounts how Judd Apatow has played a strong, mentoring, and vital part of Mr. Segel’s career, including being the one to encourage him to write his own material.
It’s nice to see an article with a simple “keep doing the work and things will happen” message.
Pardon me as I ramble:
So I come up for air and discover that over a month has passed since my last post. A month? Try month-and-a-half. Damn. I’ve been busy, but… 45 days busy?
I’ve got a new novel in the works. Four words: Time travel murder mystery. I’m currently transcribing another. And I pounded out a screenplay. Oh, and American Idol’s been good this season. Seriously, lots of things to write, not a lot of time, and blogging slips away and away.
So what brings me back? This article from the NYTimes: Michiko Kakutani rips Martin Amis a new one.
That’s my title for the article, not theirs. Theirs is a shorter.
What brought me out of hibernation was the arrogant and self-aggrandizing stance of Mr. Amis’ assertions. Me thinks he looks inward too much. Can he really perceive 9/11 in such cynical terms? As a semantic phenomenon? God I hope not. But from Kakutani’s review it seems that he does. It’s important to keep a sense of place, know what’s going on, and remember what your endeavors really amount to. Mr. Amis seems to operate on the assumption that the world only exists so that people can write books about it. I’d much rather remember that anything I do, writing or otherwise, is part of and reflective of the world. Not only do I wish my writing to be respected, but I want the world it inhabits to be respected to. So while I haven’t been blogging, I have been trying to keep myself in the world.
So, who do you like in American Idol?
Oh, and Call of Duty 4 rocks.