By my own estimation it’s around 512 pages, but I’m not gonna bother to count them. It’s thicker than a ream of paper, and at least a few trees sacrificed themselves for my work.
It’s uncut, with nothing between brain and paper except an old typewriter. Much of it is stream of consciousness, with an outline being thrown together after the fact. The whole thing took 40 days and at least two cans of Cuban coffee.
It’s terrible, but all first drafts are. Hemingway called all first drafts — including his own — something that I will not repeat in a family venue such as this.
No third party reads my first drafts and lives. But that’s the creative process.
If you listen to the uncut version of your favorite jazz album you’ll probably hear multiple takes, false starts, train wrecks, conversations with the sound guy, and the leader screaming at one of his sidemen. Pharoah’s Dance, the 20-minute opening cut on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew album, has something like 19 edits. There are a couple of places where you can hear the splices. But it’s an amazing album, essential listening.
Every time you fumble through a song the first time, every blog post you write, every porch you build or every piece of software you create is gonna have issues. Big ones. You’ll end up throwing half of it out and totally rebuilding the other half.
Then you hope you threw out the right half.
It’s a necessary step in the creative process.
The next step is to let it sit a good while. Detach myself from the project and do something else. Forget it’s there. Then on July 1 I’ll pull it out of the box, read through it, go through a few red pens and try to pull something out of it. Kind of like finding the pony in the mountain of horse flop.
Diamonds come out of coal. Oil comes primarily from dead things. Art comes from the aforementioned pile.
You need to create the garbage before you can dig out the good stuff.
The garbage comes first.