12 Winters Blog

“Melvill” finds a home, more on Braver’s Crows

Posted in September 2010 by Ted Morrissey on September 26, 2010

Since the last posting, I found a home for “Melvill in the Marquesas,” the first chapter of my novella Weeping with an Ancient God, and in fact it’s already published: the wonders of electronic journals. It is in the current edition of The Final Draft, edited by Bob Rothberg. The Final Draft has a magazine look that I like. Bob has generously played up the coming release of Men of Winter, which Punkin House Press is planning for November. The front cover is set, and graphic artist Julie McAnary is at work on the spine and back cover; meanwhile, I presume work is also being done with designing and setting the pages, but so far I haven’t seen any galleys. Referring back to “Melvill,” the tentative plan is for PHP to publish Weeping with an Ancient God along with a collection of a dozen previously published stories in 2011.  Right now, of course, the focus is to get Men of Winter out (and promoted).  Weeping, by the way, is a highly fictionalized “biography” of Herman Melville’s encounter with cannibals in the Marquesas Islands in 1842. To write it, I researched Melville, especially his childhood and his time spent on the whaling ship the Acushnet, but also I carefully read his debut novel Typee, which is his own highly autobiographical account of the event in the Marquesas Islands. I elected to spell Melville’s name minus the last “e” as that was the family’s original spelling — before the “e” was added to make it look more American in hopes of improving their business prospects (I believe it was Melville’s older brother who made that decision, but I’d have to refer back to my research on that one).

In any event, it feels good to have a bit of Weeping out there in the world, and I appreciate the professional job that Bob Rothberg has done in presenting it in The Final Draft. I don’t seem to find an archive button at the journal’s site, so I’m not sure if it will be possible to access “Melvill” after the next installment of the The Final Draft is uploaded, but I hope there will remain a permanent link.

While I’m posting, I want to give a quick shout out to M. R. Branwen for having her poem “Flora, Fauna” nominated by Metazen for the 2010 Best of the Net Anthology. It is a well-deserved honor; check out her poetry.

In addition to continuing my work on the Authoress, my novel in progress, I’ve been reading Adam Braver’s Crows over the Wheatfield and enjoying it very much. I’m especially enjoying its intertextual nature as Braver mixes the novel’s main plot, about a professor/scholar of art history, with excerpts from the professor’s manuscript (one presumes) on Vincent van Gogh — the juxtapositioning is provocative and engaging. Then of course there is the novel’s overarching intertextual relationship with van Gogh’s famous painting, Wheat Field with Crows. Braver’s clean and concise prose style belies the book’s thematic complexities, thus amplifying those complexities even further. I’m sure there will be more to follow on Braver’s superb novel.

tedmorrissey.com

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