Yes, we’ve been having April Showers in New York City. Which has made it easier to be holed up in my studio apartment, finishing up these last rounds of edits. I’m pleased to say that after tonight, “Bingo Ray” and “Artists and Janitors” will be the lone collections I’ve failed to completely update with smoother fonts, cleaner headings, and tidied-up text. By next month I hope to have all the writing on michaelaba.com more publication-worthy than I would have ever dreamed years ago.
The revised, long-lost novel - “The Reinvention of Richard Bent” - is online and looking good, too!
A few people have asked which book they should read first. Since “Michelle” shows up at the top of the Books page, most assume I’m hoping they’ll start with this selection - but no, not necessarily… I guess here, after almost a year into it, I’ll give you a short run-down on how I divided up these 90 (!) stories.
“Early Odds and Split Ends” is the only collection where chronology plays a major role. As most of you have likely deduced, these are all early stories - although a few from this timeframe show up in other books. Some people may want to start with this collection, and it’s a fun way to see how I was approaching the act of writing all those years ago.
“Sam and Me” is more like a series of vignettes. Most of the stories are short and the subject matter generally veers from silly to sillier. It’s easily the quickest book to get through, and for that reason, perhaps you’d like to start there.
The first four books on my Books page, however, have a vague but definable thread to tie their stories together. They mostly differ in how I deal with the word “artist”. In “Michelle”, the art hopefully shows up in the central ideas of the stories themselves. “Artists and Janitors” contain narrators who presumptively (and often erroneously) regard themselves as real artists, whereas in “Bingo Ray”, maybe, in their own way, the characters truly are. And in “Washed Clothes”, sometimes the whole artist idea, as well as occasionally the humor, is somehow washed away.
I hope each collection stands on its own and you can start with any book that happens to have a story title you find intriguing. And of course, you can start off with the novel - which would make you the first person in the entire world to do so!
May 31st will be the one-year anniversary for michaelaba.com and we hope the improvements from opening day will be easy to recognize. All eight books will be in a much more readable format and condition, and hopefully the screenplays will be available, too. Thanks to everyone for their patience while we continue to make things better. And for those of you who have been reading so diligently - THANKS! - and post your reviews!
Hope everyone is ready for some May Flowers - I’ll check in with you again next month!