with the Angler

Thus I can realize my boyhood dreams of writing a serial novel

In the past week [from the day I’m writing this, a day early in October 2023], a hundred and six years ago, V.W. & L. are gardening, constructing walls and paths, planting Japanese anemones, daisies, foxgloves, and wall flowers. It’s mushroom season (on account of the seasonal rains) and the walnuts are falling. Aeroplanes over the house : “16 German aeroplanes have just passed over Richmond” V.W. writes in a letter to Vanessa Bell (on the 6th of October) ,, portents of a coming raid. (It’s 1917 after all and the bombs are falling on London.) Oh, and V.W. will be starting a new physical volume of her diary on the 8th (in just two days).

A. and I spent some time in the garden this week, laying down topsoil and mulch, but no new planting. Moles have invaded the yard and are pushing up dirt in circuitous subterranean tunnels ,, in search of grubs. The leaves have begun to fall in earnest.

This shiny new toy (write.as) has reawakened my dreams of writing a serial novel. Doubts immediately crowd in : “how will it be different this time?” The conditions for serial writing are different now, I’m in possession of a vast archive of material from which to draw, upon which to build. Many times, over the past years, I’ve attempted the serial novel under several titles. My greatest success was two years ago : a great flurry of work, a prodigious flow of words, and then … I don’t recall precisely what derailed me, but derailed I was.

Back in March (of this year) I was stuck at the airport (a delayed flight) and I sat for several hours at a bar drinking overpriced beer and writing sketches for a new serial novel about the strange goings on in a small rural community. Of course, the story involved time travel.

If I were to start writing my serial novel now, it would be called Leadworth. I’ve kept the idea of the small community, but I’ve folded in a university, but an unusual university that offers courses and degree programs that are considered impractical , useless in our world. For example, one could get a doctorate in poetry. Imagine that!

Several days ago, I took down from the shelf the volumes of The Diaries of Emilio Renzi by Ricardo Piglia. Often I’m possessed by an irrational passion to begin (in this case resume) reading a particular book ,, probably because I feel that by reading it, I will (vampirelike) feast on its blood and become rejuvenated. (I’ve just opened the third volume of Renzi’s diaries randomly and found this line: “Just now, twenty years after I started writing in these notebooks, I have the feeling that I’m recording my everyday life with caution and efficiency.” [p. 69]) Like Renzi/Piglia, I’ve had a lifelong curiosity about diaries, especially the diaries of writers. Piglia’s fixed idea was Cesare Pavese and his diary, The Business of Living (the principle subject of which, from reading Piglia one concludes, is suicide).