Last week I finished the latest draft of my novel Believers. It's now circulating in the world, getting feedback.
It's a very strange/very good feeling. By that I mean there's a huge sense of accomplishment and completion. This is a book I've been working on for a long time now, and there were times when I seriously wondered if I'd ever finish. But I did. For now, that is.
And I say "very strange" because, as I wait for the aforementioned feedback, I'm not sure what's next. Likely more revising, if the feedback is positive. We shall see.
In the meantime, I've decided to re-read Don DeLillo's Underworld. It's a book that I first read when it came out back in 1997, and it had a great influence on me in general but also specifically on Believers. It inspired me to write a more sprawling, multi-voiced, multi-layered novel. It inspired me to take chances and write from points of view that were out of my comfort zone. And the sentences: they inspired me to be a better writer, to see and explore greater possibilities in language.
Here's a paragraph from Underworld, from the prologue (originally published in Harper's as "Pafko at the Wall"), which just might be one my favorite paragraphs of all time:
"Men passing in and out of the toilets, men zipping their flies as they turn from the trough and other men approaching the long receptacle, thinking where they want to stand and next to whom and not next to whom, and the old ballpark's reek and mold are consolidated here, generational tides of beer and shit and cigarettes and peanut shells and disinfectants and pisses in untold millions, and they are thinking in the ordinary way that helps a person glide through a life, thinking thoughts unconnected to events, the dusty hum of who you are, men shouldering through the traffic in the men's room as the game goes on, the coming and going, the lifting out of dicks and the meditative pissing."