(Enclosed with this letter was a copy of Bob's formal come-on to the mean offices of NY publishing -- Hūm)
A breather, it was. Having caught my breath, I'm back at work. Not on the book, mind. But the publisher's mind. No need for you to do anything, since this effort is intended to be decisive. If I get no more than nibbles, you can finish it, fiddle with it, or flick it aside.
From W.W. Norton comes these encouraging discouraging words:
'...We have decided against an offer of publication. This is a witty, well-told, and extremely inventive story. But it is also unbelievable. Mohel, Jizi, and Carmen are reminiscent of Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, as they wheel and deal in the power politics of Samadhi. They are all cartoons of real people. The plot is a fantasy. One is not sure it's tongue in cheek or for real. With no apparent purpose other than entertainment, the novel cannot succeed, for its lack of credibility alienates the reader.'
You should have by now, or soon, my contribution to this fantastic purposeless incredible alien entertaining failure.
A metaphysical bricklayer, Thomas Mann? Who said that? You? Him? My hope is that Worthy Bones is not just some metaphysical bricks. Anyone can shit metaphysical bricks all day long, pile them up, and call it a novel, but it's just a pile of shit. I tried to include not just the shit, which is certainly needed to create whole characters, but also the flesh, blood and gristle and bone that are needed to support a brain and an alimentary track.
And to do that...well...my problem's not with the Editor in me (who's often overambitious but can be controlled) but with the Creator, who's a lazy little fellow who has to be practically beaten or cajoled before he'll do fuck-all. Or else just wait patiently until he's in the mood. Or?