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wendyroba
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Bruce...I live in the country (and specifically in horse country!) so I can relate to your feelings about animals (although I admit, I tend to assign emotions to my animals and view them a bit differently than you do :smileywink:)

 

It is sad to me that short stories are not marketable. Personally, I love a well-written short story. I'll look forward to reading your collection when it comes out!

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Bruce-Machart
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

 


Again, Pepper:  thanks so very much.  I'll do my best below, and I hope that I'm answering your questions.  It's a bit of a dance, this is, because I want to be helpful and honest and forthcoming, but at the same time I do believe that what matters most is the story...not really what I think of the story.  So, fair warning:  trust the art, not the artist.  :smileysurprised:

Peppermill wrote:

I've been though these questions and Bruce's responses now to this point and I'll add a few more questions to the conversation:

 

1.  How did you think of community in its supportive ways during the time periods selected, e.g., neighbors, church, family, bankers, ...?  My feeling is as if I read some of the unsupportive elements -- self-interest predominating, weak leaders, quick changes of loyalty, jealousy, and less of the positive elements -- help in times of need, fellowship, mutual projects carried out together, simple presence at times of especial stress,...   Yet, I realize my assessment may be unfair -- Karel and Sophie do go to the festival, midwives did do their work, Sophie did make food to share, ...  Still, raising a barn, lending a hand for harvest, occasionally tempering decisions about loans, ..., and I don't know exactly what else, except perhaps the value of ritual (its emptiness does seem to be here), have been among the elements I found myself watching for in this harsh environment.  Perhaps more broadly, my question is how did you think of broader community in relation to the immediate story being told?  It seems to me that "community" was vital.  It also seems to be that people self-segregated by nationality and ethnic origin (a great deal of this goes on even today).  But there is a stalwart individualism in Texas (probably on par with that which we find in Alaska and Maine), and I think this is probably at least in part the result of the stoic self-sufficiency of the Bohemian and Moravian and German settlers.  But then again...I'm not an anthropologist.  This is just my gut feel.

 

2.  Are you willing to give us another hint on where to watch for changes in tense?   I have a sense of being aware of them, even confused by them, several times, but frankly I never caught that something deliberate was happening, largely because, for me, they got lost in the shifts of time periods -- which occurred both in sections and within a section.  (Yes, I know, I can now re-read and figure it out for myself! lol!)  I'm not super comfortable with this because it lends itself to thematic discussion, to my own extra-textual influence on your relationship to the text.  But I'll meet you halfway.  My use of tense in the story is quite deliberate.  I don't mean for it to be something that most readers catch consciously, but some of the sections are in present tense; others are in past tense; and it can be counter-intuitive at first glance.

 

3.  I would have liked more back story on Vaclav -- why was he who he was?  Did you consider providing such?  Or, why did you choose not to do so?  I would be unethical, in my opinion, if I gave the reader any less of a character than they need to understand the story.  I believe that Vaclav is a fully developed character with his own motives and flaws and desires.  That said, part of the contract between writer and reader involves what Henry James called "the donee" or "the given."  Some things are simply true when the story begins.  

 

4.  Have you been surprised by readers' reactions to Vaclav here, or are they what you had expected, given the character you created?  How so?  I'm a bit surprised by what you described in an earlier post as a "dearth of empathy."  But I also realize that not everyone has finished the novel yet.  It's meant to work as a whole, so I have to say that I'm not really all that surprised by these reactions to the extent that I understand them to be based largely on incomplete informations.  Does that make sense?

 

Pepper


 

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Bruce-Machart
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

 

HI, Sheila!
When I wake up in the middle of the night, the first thing I try to do is go back to sleep!  But yes, there have been times when I woke up to find the story waiting for me, and I sometimes think of writing as "dreaming while awake."  It feels that way.  There is no greater satisfaction, for me, that being immersed in the writing of a story to the extent that, when I "surface" from my own imagination, I find that two or three hours have passed though it felt like only a few minutes.
That said, when I wake to find my mind on the story, I get up and go to the computer.  Much grumbling is involved.  Much coffee.  The dog sighs and rolls her pretty eyes.  The tree frogs seem to direct their protestations at me.  But I get up and write.  I try never to think about a story unless I am at the desk.  In that way, "thinking about a story" and "writing" are, for me, one in the same.
literature wrote:

 

Hi Bruce,

 

I just want you to know how much I am enjoying your book; the story, characters and your style of writing. Depending on how much information is included in a sentence, sometimes I'll omit some of the phrases, and then reread it putting back some or all of them.  The more I reread some of the more detailed paragraphs, the more information I seem to extract from it.  If I came across this book in B&N, I would have purchased it. I'm opened to all genres, it just depends on the author's writing.

 

With that said, did you ever wake up in the middle of the night with a brainstorm of an idea for one of the characters or another idea to write into the story?

 

I am keeping with the schedule so I do not know how Villasenor plays out in the rest of the book.  The only favor I ask of you is that if you write a sequel, or the second book in a trilogy, can he be described as maybe having wind blown hair, mud-caked boots, manure (polished or unpolished) ladden trousers, drivinging into town with the remnants of a dust storm covering his otherwise polished surry or even blessed by a passing covey.  I would like to see Grabiela down and dirty on the farm.  Even Thomas has been transformed into a clean freak.  The only mention of his grandchildren are to Karel.  I hope that these grandbabies are not a cloned product of Villasenor's meticulous state of being.  I realize that Villasenor's description is an integral and necessary part of the story; he just has to learn to let loose.  I still believe that he is keeping his distance from an previous past he's trying to avoid.

 

Congratuations on the fabulous review in The Wall Street Journal.

Sheila

 

 

 


 

www.brucemachart.com
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Peppermill
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Thank you for taking the time for your thoughtful responses to my questions, Bruce.

 

Clearly, yours is a novel that is engaging my time -- despite competing with some reasonable contenders (e.g., Oksanen's Purge, Mantel's Place of Greater Safety, and Satrapi's Persepolis) at the moment. Having grown up in the arid rural upper Midwest, I am enjoying the journey south into Texas.  My bones know fairly well the world of horses, cow pies, black loam, German and Scandinavian immigrants, and small towns.  Thank you for bringing the Skalas, the Knedliks, and the Villasenors to story. 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

How do you feel as the author when we, the readers, try to decipher what you have put down on paper? Is it nice to know that we are thinking about the book and/or do you sometimes shake your head in wonder asking yourself, what are they thinking, I never wrote that! :smileyhappy:

Sometimes I picture the authors chuckling in the background (or in their graves as the case may be), happy that their book is being read and well received but amused by the varied interpretations. The tale sometimes grows, doesn't it?

 


 

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Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008

Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Dear Bruce..As I read and wondered  about all the characters,what they are feeling,thinking,it became clear,that being taken out of my comfort zone,is having me delve even further into the TWOF..I have began to feel,taste,smell what I think you have been wanting to convey..It was a Foreign country within the United States, ,a melting pot,and to think that everyone could understand each other is not relevant..They survived by their wits,,and Having a Place in the Community,acquiring Land,Horses,A Business.Karel is for me the only one that is somewhat in touch with his feelings..I was looking for that one person..Thanks Bruce..Susan...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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AIRKNITTER
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Offering you a big welcome to F/L.

Thank you for writing this book for all of us and the future readers. You have introduced us to people that have now become a part of our daily lives. My reading is done at the kitchen table; a habit from childhood. A perfect book to read in the safety and comfort of the "soul" of the house.

My question to you is: how common for that era was it for parents to be so cruel?

Again, thanks for a great book.

Aine

Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.
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Vermontcozy
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?


thewanderingjew wrote:

How do you feel as the author when we, the readers, try to decipher what you have put down on paper? Is it nice to know that we are thinking about the book and/or do you sometimes shake your head in wonder asking yourself, what are they thinking, I never wrote that! :smileyhappy:

Sometimes I picture the authors chuckling in the background (or in their graves as the case may be), happy that their book is being read and well received but amused by the varied interpretations. The tale sometimes grows, doesn't it?

 


 


Wandering .What Great Question's,observations.I picture some of your pictures as well...,,We are not a group for the most part,to tip toe around a book,,We are so opinionated,and have such vivid imaginations,,I am looking forward to Bruce's response. Susan VT...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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DSaff
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

It's great to know you are working on another book, Bruce! We can all look forward to reading more of your work.  :smileyhappy:


Bruce-Machart wrote:

  Dear Wendy,

 

 It is ten o'clock at night where I am, and I can't even anticipate breakfast!  :smileyhappy:

 

Really, I think that it's quite possible that I am not fully finished with Karel.  And I may have to explore the Knedlicks a bit further.  But I don't have any solid plans just now.  The novel I am beginning now is set in Lavaca County, and it takes place in 1958.  I think there is some connection to "Wake," but I am unsure just what shape that connection will take.

 

All I know right now is the title (Until Dayligh Delivers Me) and the central conflict...a tragic accident involving a brother and sister.

 


 

wendyr67 wrote:

Bruce, do you anticipate a sequal? It would be interesting to explore further the future relationship of the brothers, and also get to know Karel's son as he grows up.


 


 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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Bruce-Machart
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

TWJ,

 

Well, I am not much of a chuckler, and I can't even imagine myself chuckling over a reader's "misreading" of my work.  Without the reader, there would be no writer, no book, and one of my greatest joys in life would be taken from me.  All writers must first be readers, after all.

 

Still, I see your point.  It is a rare and peculiar opportunity to get to "listen in," and I think it can only help in the long run.  Of course, I have my own vision, my own aesthetic, and because this is true I sometimes need to disagree with a reader's reading.  But my belief in the reader's right to interpret and question and surmise is marrow deep.

 

So...if you find yourself thinking about me instead of the story...don't give it another thought.  I am, as Tolstoy once wrote to his brother from prison, just a "human being trying to live among other human beings."  But this particular human being has learned, through years of criticism, to grow very thick skin.  Y'all please just keep doing what you're doing.  To my mind, nothing but good can come from careful reading, careful thought, considerate discussion, and the kind of intellectual curiosity that all these things (and the books!  Yes, the books!) give us the chance to exercise.


thewanderingjew wrote:

How do you feel as the author when we, the readers, try to decipher what you have put down on paper? Is it nice to know that we are thinking about the book and/or do you sometimes shake your head in wonder asking yourself, what are they thinking, I never wrote that! :smileyhappy:

Sometimes I picture the authors chuckling in the background (or in their graves as the case may be), happy that their book is being read and well received but amused by the varied interpretations. The tale sometimes grows, doesn't it?

 


 


 

www.brucemachart.com
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Bruce-Machart
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Dear Susan,

 

I'm so very glad that you are feeling the pull of imagery.  We experience the world with our five senses (so long as we are lucky enough to have use of all five).  There can really be no scene without image, I think.

 

B.


Vermontcozy wrote:

Dear Bruce..As I read and wondered  about all the characters,what they are feeling,thinking,it became clear,that being taken out of my comfort zone,is having me delve even further into the TWOF..I have began to feel,taste,smell what I think you have been wanting to convey..It was a Foreign country within the United States, ,a melting pot,and to think that everyone could understand each other is not relevant..They survived by their wits,,and Having a Place in the Community,acquiring Land,Horses,A Business.Karel is for me the only one that is somewhat in touch with his feelings..I was looking for that one person..Thanks Bruce..Susan...


 

www.brucemachart.com
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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

AND LONG LIVE BOOKS; THE REAL THING, NOT THE EBOOKS. I LOVE THE SMELL AND THE FEEL AND THE CONTENT..AND THE BOOKSHELVES AND THE LIBRARIES FILLED WITH BOOKS ON SHELVES....THE WHOLE DARN THING! SO KEEP THEM COMING. YOUR BOOK IS EXCEPTIONAL.


Bruce-Machart wrote:

TWJ,

 

Well, I am not much of a chuckler, and I can't even imagine myself chuckling over a reader's "misreading" of my work.  Without the reader, there would be no writer, no book, and one of my greatest joys in life would be taken from me.  All writers must first be readers, after all.

 

Still, I see your point.  It is a rare and peculiar opportunity to get to "listen in," and I think it can only help in the long run.  Of course, I have my own vision, my own aesthetic, and because this is true I sometimes need to disagree with a reader's reading.  But my belief in the reader's right to interpret and question and surmise is marrow deep.

 

So...if you find yourself thinking about me instead of the story...don't give it another thought.  I am, as Tolstoy once wrote to his brother from prison, just a "human being trying to live among other human beings."  But this particular human being has learned, through years of criticism, to grow very thick skin.  Y'all please just keep doing what you're doing.  To my mind, nothing but good can come from careful reading, careful thought, considerate discussion, and the kind of intellectual curiosity that all these things (and the books!  Yes, the books!) give us the chance to exercise.

 


 

thewanderingjew wrote:

How do you feel as the author when we, the readers, try to decipher what you have put down on paper? Is it nice to know that we are thinking about the book and/or do you sometimes shake your head in wonder asking yourself, what are they thinking, I never wrote that! :smileyhappy:

Sometimes I picture the authors chuckling in the background (or in their graves as the case may be), happy that their book is being read and well received but amused by the varied interpretations. The tale sometimes grows, doesn't it?

 


 


 


 

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pen21
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Bruce,

This is such a wonderful read! Every word and every sentence needs to be read. No skipping or skimming for this book. I love your images. On page 138 the scene with Karel and the outhouse is a great sibling scene. My brothers were always teasing me and trying to scare me. I like how you blended a warm humorous scene like this with the stark images of life during this time. I don't have any questions at this time. I am looking forward to reading the last section.

Luanne

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Bruce-Machart
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Registered: ‎07-21-2010
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

 

Thanks, Luanne, for the kind words!  I have two brothers, one of whom is a mere 15 months older than am I.  He picked on me mercilessly at times, but he was always my best friend, too!


pen21 wrote:

Bruce,

This is such a wonderful read! Every word and every sentence needs to be read. No skipping or skimming for this book. I love your images. On page 138 the scene with Karel and the outhouse is a great sibling scene. My brothers were always teasing me and trying to scare me. I like how you blended a warm humorous scene like this with the stark images of life during this time. I don't have any questions at this time. I am looking forward to reading the last section.

Luanne


 

www.brucemachart.com
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Deltadawn
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

This is a great question! I wondered the same thing.

Wordsmith
Deltadawn
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Dear Bruce,

I would like to add my voice to the many others here that have told you how wonderful this novel is. Thank you so very much for sharing it with us in this group and for joining us here at the First Look Club. Like the others, I was very moved  by it - the plot, characters, imagery, and beauty of the language.  The Wake of Forgiveness is sure to be an immense success and I will highly recommend it to others!

Thank you again.

All the best, Dawn

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Bruce-Machart
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

 

Thank you, Dawn!  That's a touching sentiment, and I am flattered.

 

BDM

www.brucemachart.com
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nbmars
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Bruce,

 

I was struck by two remarks you made.  One was:

 

"...I can't even imagine myself chuckling over a reader's "misreading" of my work.  Without the reader, there would be no writer, no book, and one of my greatest joys in life would be taken from me.  All writers must first be readers, after all."

 

Later you said:

 

"I'm not super comfortable with this because it lends itself to thematic discussion, to my own extra-textual influence on your relationship to the text.  But I'll meet you halfway.  My use of tense in the story is quite deliberate.  I don't mean for it to be something that most readers catch consciously, but some of the sections are in present tense; others are in past tense; and it can be counter-intuitive at first glance."

 

I would say that if you are a reader of your book as well as a writer, you could express opinions in that way.  And secondly, I don't see that it's all that possible for you to exert extra-textual influence even if you wanted to do so!  The reader brings his or her own conceptual lenses to the process no matter what.  I don't eschew Auden for being an anti-Semite, for example.  Nor am I influenced by the fact that you intended Vaclav to be empathetic; for me, he is too much like someone in my own life for me to like him, and nothing about your intentions can change that!  But that brings up another point:  it seems to me that the writer is not always conscious about what influences or symbols or nuances go into the characters.  So in some sense, you are just [sic] another reader who brings your own preconceptions to the interpretation of the story. 

 

...which is all my way of saying that I too vote you tell us about the tense!  :smileyvery-happy:

 

 

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PiperMurphy
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Thanks for your response. I have a new appreciation for Vaclav. He's not a terrible person. He's just trying to deal with what life dealt him.

 

I realized, as I read further in the book, that everything that happened in the story was a result of, reaction to, or influenced in some way by Vaclav, even after he was gone. He had a lot more affect on the people around him than I'm sure anyone realized. You've take a lot of care to weave subtleties like this into the story. It's fun to discover them. I was wondering if you have considered telling Vaclav and Klara's story? I would be interested in reading it.

 

 


Bruce-Machart wrote:

Hi, PiperMurphy,

 

I did enjoy writing Vaclav, and I have a great deal of empathy and compassion for him.  Of course, the readers have to draw their own conclusions, but Vaclav was so clear and complex and vibrant in my imagination.  Faulkner always spoke of stories being about "the human heart in conflict with itself," and I see this in Vaclav.  I just thought a great deal about my own grandfather, who had, as they say, a bit of the devil in him.  He could be stern and hard, and he was certainly from a "don't spare the rod" culture and time, but he was also playful and mischievous and unpredictable.  But he had my grandmother, whom he adored, and that, as so many of us are fortunate enough to know, can make all the difference in the world.

 


 

PiperMurphy wrote:

Hello,

 

I am really enjoying your book, it's excellent. The characters are so well developed. They're believable and true to their time and setting. Believe it or not, I really like Vaclav - not as a person (he's a terrible person), but as a character. He's fascinating and intriguing because there are so many layers to him. I was wondering what it was like to write him? How did you go about creating him? I bet he was fun to invent.


 


 

"When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes."
~Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus~
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Madgy
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Bruce Machart?

Hi Bruce,

    I don't have a question for you at this time but I did want to say  WOW!!!  The horse race between Graciela and Karel and then the fire in the barn were so well written that I actually felt I was there!  Oh I guess I do have a question... Is this going to be a movie someday!?! 

Thank you for letting us read your book I'm enjoying it immensely!

Madgy