The Wild Jesus (Part 1 of 4)

My father is in the woods far from our house. He is hunting Jesus. Jesus stalks the woods in his antlers. He is chasing Ronald Reagan. That’s when my Dad shoots Jesus. Jesus runs off, bleeding in five places from one bullet. Nice shot! My Dad waits. He lets Jesus go away to see if he’ll bleed out. When my Dad gets down from his tree he follows the blood. He follows it into the corn field and stops. He cannot go any further. There is a Berlin Wall. The blood trail goes over the Wall. My Dad will not. He can smell the blood and the scent of burnt matches on the other side.

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Spoiler

Spoiler

Or, A Reckoning With Sentimental Habits by Way of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet

There once was a man who wrote about the things that other people wrote. Oh, how he loved to celebrate his writers. He wanted them to succeed. He wanted them to be heroic in their work and in life. Something about their success made him feel hopeful about the world and himself.

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New novel drafted

I’m very happy to say I’ve finished the first draft of a new novel.

It’s about a wedding, a poisoning, a child revolt, and an alternate world. At least, that’s what it’s about for now. Some elements could change as I continue to read through and revise the book.

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Little Brother

M. Jakubowski

I have a new story online called “Little Brother.” It’s about childhood and darkness and togetherness and escape. It’s one of my favorite short pieces.

It’s had a long life. Though I should say “lives.” It has existed for many years in one form or another. Its longest life was as a chapter of my first novel, which itself had an adventure (agent, submissions, interest, but not enough). I didn’t give up on the chapter. I adapted it to stand alone in these 1,300 words, which encapsulate a lot of overlapping ideas and theories and worlds that tumble around together in my memory of childhood with my sisters. In the story, they’re both older than me. In real life, I’m the oldest. But age is funny. We’re all older and somewhat wiser now, with spouses and children and good and bad jobs. Age doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. I’m so lucky to be close to them now. This story is for them, for us, honoring a piece of the vast, sacred weirdness we went through together.

Here are the first few paragraphs of “Little Brother.”

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Works in progress

I have a system. The one I was given. The one that was taken away. I live in between the two, developing others, which in turn develop systems within me.

So pieces develop. I find them here and there in the notebooks people have given to me over time. Years later the notebooks have things in them that I think I wrote. I definitely wrote them. But the people who gave them to me may have taken them back while I wasn’t looking. Because some of the things I find in them seem very unfamiliar.

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Notes on technique and feeling

As a writer, I take matters of style and technique as seriously as I think I should. I listen. I read. I review. I consider and reconsider.

But I am skeptical of all the capitalism deep inside the writing industry. So I sometimes don’t listen. Or read. I ignore. I dismiss and re-dismiss when I see writing advice re-tweeted.

But I did read a craft book by Douglas Glover and it helped. It’s called (ahem), “The Erotics of Restraint.” Subtitle: “Essays on Literary Form.” When I say it helped I mean one specific part of it helped. The very long but very good essay, “Anatomy of the Short Story.”

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A phantom ocean

MJ 071419

M. Jakubowski

Bored at night I go upstairs to the window that leads to the back roof. Parting the curtains turning the latches pushing up the glass and the screen to bend down to less than half my height with my chin almost touching my knee I side-step over the sill onto the flat rowhouse roof.

My foot is immediately assailed with the waning warmth of the July sun stored in the roof’s surface. I feel the eyes of the birds and squirrels on me, a pale giraffe joining them suddenly thirty feet above the ground to peer at each other between the maple leaves. They stay quiet until I look away. Continue reading