have skipped town or his inner circle. Five readers, five dropouts
from his life.
tells me that his friend Michelle was at a school for publishing,
that she wanted to be a book editor, that she offered to look the
novel over as practice in exchange for drum lessons. Shortly after
delivering her a smartly bound copy of the manuscript he had special-made
for her along with a specially purchased red pen, not even enough
time for more than a few chapters, she stopped arriving in his basement
on Tuesdays at three, her phone number stopped working without report,
she disappeared from class. She never returned the manuscript, her
thoughts on it, or the pen.
fell in love with an English major, a "writer" herself. Mad with passion
and poetry, they exchanged books. Hers, a blip only of novella length,
was read in an afternoon, reported on over dinner. His, a full novel,
a solid hundred and five thousand words, needed more
time for full analysis, time it would never receive. She gave her
novella and her love to a rival by chapter 7, and he wondered if Michelle
had also been on chapter 7, thinking it a shame, because the exposition
and back-story had barely faded at that point, that the plot didn't
really pick up until chapter 9.
tells me that his roommate's mother was a professional novelist, that
they'd met and gotten along and that he wanted her to be his mentor,
but that he didn't want to give her his novel until it was at least
readable enough for people to reach chapter 8, or she wouldn't really
be interested in helping him. So he gave it to her daughter, his roommate.
And she promptly moved out amid a swarm of the type of meritless allegations
roommates always make about one another upon exit. He didn't know
what chapter she was on, only that she didn't pay the electric bill
when she left.