Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it."
- Omar Khayyam
"What if we're killed in the next minute? You want The Manuscript to be lost for another hundred and thirty years?"
- Shan, THE MANUSCRIPT
And so also the night of the official launch of Macmillan New Writing (and, perforce, of THE MANUSCRIPT), Macmillan and the Pan Bookshop on the Fulham Road graciously hosted another launch party, and reading. (If you want to see the bit I read, complete with interstitial comments as I recall them, here it is. Consider this an online reading, I suppose.) It was very fun and lively, with bottomless glasses of wine, and much snapping of photos. Official TEAM MANUSCRIPT press photographer Sara was of course on the job.
But first a special public announcement
This is to specially publicly announce that my previously somewhat cryptically mentioned freak out over launch week stress and "children-of-divorce" issues was not caused by anything anyone did at all and was totally irrational and totally down to my own personal and totally endogenous neuroses. I deeply regret albeit totally understand that anyone might have thought this an indictment or criticism of anyone. So let me state clearly for the record that absolutely everyone involved in this week including and very much in particular my father and mother were completely lovely and totally civil and unbelievably supportive and sweet and the two of them even spent time with Sara and I all together and reminisced about fun old times and we all had a great time. So my brief freak-out was absolutely nothing to do with anything anyone did and I can provide an explanation for anyone so silly as to request or require one. I'm so happy and grateful that both my parents made the huge trip out to share all this.
And okay while I'm thanking lovely people for this week let me go on to thank my lovely aunt Valerie and Uncle Chris for putting up mom and Jesse, and for cooking incessantly, and for providing a base of operations, and for taking tons of time out to come to every single one of the launch events and be incredibly supportive and fun. And Paola, la niŮa mas dulce, for being the rock by my side and taking care of me and nursing me back to emotional health (and to my own launch party!) and helping me gain some much needed perspective and just being a doll. And not to mention my incomparably lovely and world-beating mates for coming out to, variously, this reading, and the subsequent one (pictures forthcoming), and for putting up with my silly moods, this week as so often. And Sara, who went so far above and beyond the call this week to make everything possible and fantastic and go smoothly that who could begin even to try and thank her. So, needless to say. I think I'll thank more people later but this is starting to sound like the bloody Academy Awards. And you just came here for some pictures. So here they are. Right. Sorry.
All photo credits still 2006 SNAFU Literary Promotion Productions.
Miles' ears rang painfully. Numerous muscles in his legs and lower back ached keenly. His right wrist and palm were chafed and sore from rapid-firing a large-caliber pistol. He was suffering from the effects of adrenaline burnout, extended shock, sleep deprivation, hunger, dehydration, and post-traumatic stress disorder which was flooding in, interestingly, before the original stress had drained out. He began saying shit like:
"You should have seen when I put down that fairy friend of yours, the one in the ice skates." He scanned the other faces in the room, grinning leisurely. "Couple of double taps right between the shoulder blades. Yeah, that was like the motherfucking Cap-In-Your-Ass Ice-Capades. Ha, ha."
The level of ire in the big room began to go through the roof. The others Global Acumen employees, contractors, federal agents? tough to tell pretended to work on whatever they were working on. But they couldn't help listening to Miles. He held the floor.
"And those guys who chased us into the Mall!" Miles snorted, a violent motion which moved both his chair and Dana's (they, and the chairs, had been tied together). "Those guys shoot like ass! Man! They shoot like little girls. We lit them up pretty good." Dana banged the back of her head into the back of Miles'. "Say? Are those guys okay? They around here?" Miles twisted his head around, looking for wounded guys.
Dana popped him in the back of the head again, then twisted around as far as she might. She whispered, "I want you to shut up, Miles. Please."
"Shut up? Why should I shut up? I'm just talking about all those punks we shot earlier."
"You sound," Dana hissed, "like FreeBSD. Just shut up."
"What's wrong with FreeBSD? I love FreeBSD. That guy's the tits."
"No," Dana said, facing forward, and losing her fear again, "you just idolize him because he used to jockey computers, then went out into the world and did something."
This did shut Miles up then. Too late, though: Stanley Luther was choking on bile, and approached Miles for a word.
Umm . . . I'm going to skip ahead a bit here. Is that allowed?
"You have a lot of commentary," said Stanley to Miles, "for a guy tied to a chair."
Reality presented itself briefly to Miles and he eyed a patch of floor.
Stanley worked his jaw, waiting for a fuller head of steam, when the guy in charge appeared at his shoulder. He said, "Thanks, Stanley. I'll take it from here." He said, to Miles, "Why don't you tell me who else has seen the Manuscript? Make me look good in front of my colleagues, and make it easier on yourself. We just want to know who else has read it." He grinned conspiratorially. "Who else is in on the little secret."
"Hey," replied Miles, head rolling, "It's just between you, me, and the crack dealer on the corner."
"The crack dealer's on his way up now," the leader said, nodding and missing the joke. "But I don't believe you're telling me everything."
"If there were alien visitors here with a raygun to my head and a rectal probe to my ass, I couldn't tell you anymore."
"You should be so lucky."
Stanley turned to leave. "This is highly pointless," he muttered.
<snaps book shut> <applause>