Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Why Do You Write This Stuff?
For example one time I came in the front door, and my wife asked me, “Where have you been?”
“Wearing that?” was Nancy’s follow-up query.
I studied my ensemble. A perfectly clean – well, almost perfectly – white terrycloth robe, cinched at the waist with a matching terrycloth belt. I also had on tennis shoes, but no socks.
“Please, tell me, please,” Nancy said, looking at the floor with a frown, and pinching the bridge of her nose as if she felt a headache coming on, “that you weren’t also talking to yourself.”
Nevertheless, I did see Nancy’s point: a grown man strolling the streets in his bathrobe – reasonably clean or not – and talking to himself – be it ever so politely – is apt to raise eyebrows and attract the attention of passing patrol cars, especially if he is also gesturing to himself – even if it’s only in the give-and-take spirit of a free-wheeling debate.
Again, let me emphasize, contrary to appearances, I am not insane. I’ve never actually had a test to confirm this, but to the best of my knowledge, I am not insane. I just think differently. I do things differently.
This is why I write what I do. In my first novel, a mechanic believes that if he takes apart and rebuilds the same Corvette over and over again, saving the leftover pieces every time, eventually he’ll have enough parts to build an entire car.
I wrote this because it’s the sort of idea that occurs to me.
In my second novel, Paradise Dogs – due out this spring from Thomas Dunne Books, and a dandy gift for any occasion – the protagonist, Adam Newman, borrows a dozen loose diamonds from a jeweler. And loses them.
I wrote that because it’s just the sort of thing that would happen to me.
This same Adam Newman believes there’s a secret government project to dig a barge canal across Florida, and his son, the world’s least accurate obituary writer, is in love with his brother’s girlfriend, and…
Well, you get the idea.
These are the sort of people who walk around the block in their bathrobes.
Man Martin is the author of Days of the Endless Corvette, which won him Georgia Author of the Year in 2008. His next novel, Paradise Dogs, is due out this spring from Thomas Dunne Books. Visit him on the web at manmartin.net.