Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek


I am cleaning out the back room in my place so the girl will have an office when she gets here in December and I am, finally, tossing out my PhD notes. I even found my doctorate, dusty and surviving in the folder they put it in when they give it to you on stage. I don't know what people do with theirs, but mine seems to have ended up in a back room, surrounded by notes, body art textas, and comics.


It occurs to me that I wrote a lot of notes for A Year in the City, the novel that I wrote during my doctorate, and it surprises me how little I do of it now. I suppose part of it is the four years I spent writing it, the endless style techniques I was trying, the theoretical background that went into every chapter. Nothing since then has required such layering, since ferocious rewriting, but then, that is why I did that doctorate, to write a book just like that, to be as indulgent and honest to myself as I could be. It's a shame publishers kept telling me that it was too difficult to sell, that they weren't interested in a mosaic novel, that people couldn't decide if it was a collection or a novel, and that they just didn't like it enough. You can't really overlook the last part, and that's just how it goes, even if it was mostly unsaid. If someone loves a work, they'll put the time in for it, they'll believe in it, and I guess I was the only one who loved it and believed in it, which is sadly the fate of many an author, I suspect.

Still, parts of it have appeared in places. 'The Dreaming City' appeared in Leviathan Four: Cities, and was reprinted in the Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, and 'White Crocodile Jazz' appeared in Sprawl and was reprinted in this year's Year's Best volume, though the editors and publisher have since changed. Other parts of it may trickle out over time, I suspect, but I've always resisted, just because I think it holds together better as a whole.

Maybe I'll look into publishing it, myself. It seems a shame for it not to find a tiny audience. But, as always, there is the concern of money, of paying someone to edit it, and to do a cover, and then to print some and do others online, and as work has slowed down for the year, considerations like that will, sadly, have to wait until next year.

Until then, there are notes in the boot of my car to throw out.

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