That sounds like some secret cousin to the incubus, yeah? If I’m even spelling it right. Anyway, was digging through some old stuff yesterday and found this sheet of paper from 1997, when I was finishing Fast Red Road, trying to make it all straight in my head (somewhat). Think the only other novel I’ve done something along these lines for was All the Beautiful Sinners. Though I did, a while back, while paging through some years-old notebook looking for something I had to have written down, find a little note. Something like “Most successful serial killer in American history hides under tornadoes.” Written while watching that scary-voiced America’s Most Wanted, it seems.

Anyway, here’s that sheet. Click on it to make it not so small:


And yeah, it was still named “Dog Days” then. But then, at the last minute, some other guy published a “Dog Days” novel. So I changed to “Plainsong.” Except there was Kent Haruf. And it had already been “For There Needed No Horse” and “Glory Dog” and something else too, I’m pretty sure. But Fast Red Road‘s what it is, and what it should be too, I suspect.

Also, you never quite fall out of love with your first novel, I don’t think. And every novel you write after it, it’s the same one. Like what you’ve got instead of a keyboard is this big stamp, and all you do when nobody’s looking is take all manner of knives and try to alter that stamp, so nobody’ll recognize it this time. Except, to you anyway, it always look exactly the same, is always trying to do the same exact thing.

I don’t think that’s that terrible, though.

Author: SGJ