The Krakow Diaries

75 days in Krakow. On a literary grant from the German Kulturstiftung der Länder. In the Guesthouse of the 16th century Villa Decius, with 10 other writers from Poland, Germany, Belarussia, Ukraine and Georgia. Beautiful city. Nice Krakovians. Fun nightlife. Beautiful women. And in the guesthouse: Meetings of the minds. Too much vodka. Good friends. One of the great pleasures of my life.

Day #11: Wednesday, Sep. 27: I Am Committed

So, I have made the big decision: I am going to use part of this time to write a novel.

That is, part of a novel: The first fifty pages or so plus the outline. I should be able to get that finished in three months.

I have written novels before: as a kid, mainly, full of ideas about expressing my self and competing with Shakespeare and entering literary heaven. With that in mind, I feel just a tad silly about trying at my age and as an established journalist to write a novel. I have to assure myself that this is not about expressing myself or creating greeat art or any of that crap; it's about depicting my subject in a different way - in a potentially more popular way (more people buy successful novels than successful non-fiction books) - i.e., it's about taking my subject to a larger group of readers (and at the same time being able to takew liberties with my subject that I could not take as a journalist). Telling me that, writing this - this thing - as a novel makes sinse.

The non-fiction book is not lost. Parallel to writing my novel, I continue researching the non-fiction book. Since both the novel and the non-fiction book have the same theme, there is no conflict as far as time goes. And if my energy holds out (and a publisher is interested in the idea), I can publish both the novel and the non-fiction book as companion books: two ways of looking at the sme subject.

I still have a back door to slither out of, of course. If the pages I wrikte her ein Krakow (Krakow, hear my plea) are crap, I just bury it and forget I ever mentioned it. Of course, now that I have declared my intention to the world, if I fail, I will make a fool of myself. So even if I have a back door, the stakes are high.

Wish me luck. Here goes nothing.


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