Cassidy, who is always (thankfully) eager to read my stories, told me while still reading that it’s unlike anything else she’s read. “Very very good.” She got through 70% of it in one sitting. And when she came to the end, she offered her constructive (and correct) criticisms. But quite minor. Already have those fixed with a few added lines. She quite enjoyed it. Thanks, Cassidy.
Some else just completed it and liked it very much. Incidentally, she swept through 75% in one sitting. I had her looking things up to know more about what’s contained in the book. Quite cool.
But pleasing me the most (you’ll see why in a minute) is Banky. Banky had heard a little about this novel while I wrote it. I'm sure I couldn't keep myself from talking about it when out for Free Pie with Banky and Clara. The concept intrigued him, so he asked if he could read it. Um, yeah. He rather sweetly asked if I’d be offended or if it “wouldn’t be right” to start with Midnight Chaser. Meaning should he read my other books first? Of course not. This one interested him, so… away he went.
Well, it seems I’ve disrupted his life. He began it and soon the text messages to my phone began. He’d send over lines that struck him, theories about the story and the like. He later told me that he found himself not wanting to go to his scheduled visit to his friend’s house. That, you see, would have meant he had to stop reading.
Later that night he came from her place to our place. We had a wonderful visit, as my best buddy Laughter had popped over, too. He’s here in town with his family for the weekend. Anyway, Banky eventually could no longer wait and asked if he could freely talk about the book in front of Bart and Laughter. I explained that I’ve given all its secrets to Bart already and I didn’t expect Laughter to be able to give it a go with his happily hectic life. And Laughter said he didn't mind. So off Banky went. He’s “flipping over its awesomeness.” He had some questions. Not the “I’m confused” kind but the “I’m trying to figure this out!” kind. Later, after Bart had hit the pillow and Laughter had gone, Banky and I were out on the back steps in the cool night. Without provocation, he started again. Telling me how he’s not normally fond of fantasy, how impressive that it’s quite dense and yet doesn’t feel burdened, flying along. And then more theories and questions. He’d only gotten through about a quarter of it. And needed more. Plus, I already knew that Banky usually regarded reading as a chore, a stigma from high school. Later, while playing Ghostbusters on Wii, he looked distracted. I asked. Yup, his mind on Midnight Chaser.
Apparently today he wanted to spend he day cleaning. Bart and I went out to the suburbs, visiting relatives for the Fourth of July Holiday. I received text after text. Banky. I texted back, of course, and had to ask: Did you get any cleaning done? Nope. And he plowed through most of it. In fact, he nearly finished the book.
At this point I’m not sure if he has or not. I only just returned home. And I’m waiting for a reply as to how far along he is NOW. Thanks, Banky!
Please don’t think I’m being self-praising by posting the comments. Quite frankly, it’s not about the conceit of it for me. It’s about the relief. You pour so much of your time and focus into art. To know that it’s being truly appreciated? Nothing like it. The work is not in vain.
As I told Banky last night, it’s also very excellent to hear him expressing his need to know what happens next. As an author, I never get to experience my own work in the way that a reader would. I have a short post about this dilemma, here. I rather relished the chance to live the book vicariously through Banky’s speculations and comments.
So, I’m pleased. I do have some others lined up to have a gander at the adventures of Andy, Zihn and the Hour Gang. Here’s hoping the magic continues.
UPDATE: Banky did in fact finish yesterday. I did get a text back, cleverly using a line from the book that let me know he'd completed it. I have yet to hear his thoughts now that all his questions, so to speak, have been answered. Hope we can get together soon.