“Scribble, Scribble, Scribble, eh, Mr. Gibbon?”

I sometimes say that the only thing I’ve ever done that was harder than writing the book I’m working on, Street Song, was living out the events the book describes. It’s probably true, but it’s hard to know for certain while I’m still in the midst of it. Writing a book (as opposed to a “read”) is one of the most difficult things you can do. So much is involved and it all has to be organized in an organic way. This book is difficult not because it’s extremely personal, which it is, but because how you present your personal stuff has to be done with a special kind of care or it comes off all wrong.

When I started Street Song I thought it was one thing. Working on it, however, it turned into another and another and another. But then, a book, if it’s any good, is lots of different things. The book is partly my attempt at making sense out of my life, partly a warning to others, partly a long letter of explanation to someone I alienated that I didn’t want to alienate, and partly a plain old job. (We all need something to do.) Hopefully it will give some people inspiration—not because of anything I did, but because of what I saw.

As you’ve always heard, writing a book is an incredibly lonely task. You’re inside your head nearly the entire day—even when you’re not writing—and it goes on for years. In my case, nearly 11 years now.  It has led me to places in my daily life that I never expected to go to, created problems I never would have anticipated, as well as misunderstandings that I haven’t known how to correct. (I often feel at a remove from the world around me and can’t reach across the gulf.) This is not to say that there are no joys involved. They have happened, but they are few and far between. Writing is grueling. The greatest joy for me , I think, is the last pass, after you’ve finished the last draft and are fine-tuning the language and massaging the subtleties. I’m nearing that point. About a year away now—maybe less. I’ll be happy when it’s over.

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3 Responses to ““Scribble, Scribble, Scribble, eh, Mr. Gibbon?””

  1. Lynn Basile Says:

    I look forward to reading it, Mark. Thank you (in advance) for sharing your life with us.

  2. rainnnn Says:

    I can only imagine as I stick to fiction for publishing. I like memoirs though to read. Revealing yourself has to be scary, especially the concern how it will impact others who shared the experiences but from their point of view. Street Song is a great title

    • markbittner Says:

      I don’t know why, but the “revealing myself” aspect doesn’t bother me. What weighs on me is the inevitable dismissal of certain ideas I’ve had—or continue to have—by those who believe that they themselves are sensible and practical and that everybody else should be, too. My book is in large part a protest against the mundane vision of modern life.

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