Since I decided, on the spur of the moment, to empty out the file that contained my novel of the 90s – a novel that, while I was writing it, I was sure would be my claim to fame – I’ve been looking at it and thinking about what is right and wrong about it.
One of the things that is really wrong with it is the boy’s voice. I wanted, then, to represent, to reconstruct, to design, to animate, to ventriloquize mesmerize simonize and tie down this voice that I thought of as a pure product of an American line in juvenilia, going back to the sainted Huck. The deal with such a voice, if done right, is that in its fledgling notes, its raw views, there is something true and right and New Worldish for good and ill.
This, however, I can now see, did not work out. To muck about in the world of first impressions one must be capable of them – and I am not. I’m a second and third impression man. I was trying to force that kind of consciousness into a smaller and purer consciousness; I can now see the phoniness of this.
On the other hand, I enjoy the teen and adult Longstreet Early. That enjoyment is still alive in me, which means that I really can’t close this book. I can only abandon it.