This gives a general sense of the experimental novel I am writing, which I hope to complete in 2020. The chart is more or less to amuse me, and mark the time. “Fires” are forest fires, which burn throughout the book.

On the next pages I keep track of the remaining obligations I have in art history, visual studies, and art theory.

The novel

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Number of words

356,700

363,500

Number of illustrations

516

330

Number of fires

14

14

Number of pages

1,254

1,233

Number of characters

37

30

Hours writing

2,500?

3,000?

A lot of work in 2016, and the novel is about the same length as last year!

It looks like it will find its shape at around 500,000 words. That’s at the limit of literary publishing: Infinite Jest is 550,000 words; War and Peace is 570,000 words. Few novels are published over 1,200 pages: Wallace’s is 1,100; Vollmann’s Imperial and Dying Grass are about 1,300.

The problem is those books don’t have illustrations. (Or don’t have many.) In order to reproduce the images with reasonable quality, the pages will have to be coated stock, which probably puts the practical limit for a one-volume book at 600 pages.

I’m trying to guess at the book’s page count. I am writing online, using a plausible novel format (B5 pages, one-inch margins, 10 font, ⅕ line spacing). At that scale, and with the number of illustrations I expect, 500,000 words works out to 1,700 pages: too many to print as one volume.  Zettels Traum is over 1,000,000 words and 1,500 pages, and it’s 14” by 10.” Evening Edged in Gold (a better book) is 18” by 12,” and crazy uncomfortable to hold and read. Bottom’s Dream is heavy as a baby and stroller together: it can’t be held at all.

I’ve decided to divide it the project into three independent books. In 2016 I worked mainly on Book 1. This is how it looks as of January 2017:

Chapter

Words

Images

Pages

Notes

Book 1

Joachim's Mind

1 In the Yard

3,300

6

12

0

2 A Story About Dante

4,500

0

8

0

3 A Dinner with Joachim

12,700

0

25

0

4 Monika Woodapple

12,800

4

28

2,700

5 Life with Maria-Kristiina Tank

12,200

18

36

1,200

6 Four Seasons

3,100

10

13

1,900

7 The Three Fates

7,100

0

15

2,800

8 Amoebas, From Bad to Worse

14,700

13

37

3,000

9 A Microscope Family

13,500

25

38

2,500

10 The Airplane Girl

14,800

4

32

400

11 Arguing with Pekka

12,500

19

39

500

12 Proof There Are No Memories

17,000

18

39

1,200

13 Mushrooms and Comets

18,300

19

52

2,600

14 A Walk to the Friedrichsturm

23,800

13

47

2,600

15 The Judgment

21,300

10

45

3,600

16 In a Tamarack Forest

6,300

6

22

1,000

17 A Dream

600

7

7

TOTALS for Book 1

198,500

172

495

26,000

PROJECTED TOTALS for Book 1

260,000

200

700

25,000

There’s still the question of trim size. If I keep the three books small, B5 or A4, each one would be 600-700 pages. That’s what Ferrante, Knausgaard and Proust did. Those novels each total over 1,000,000 words, but they have no illustrations to swell the page count. If I divide the book into three oversize volumes, the result would be expensive and unwieldy. This is what Fritz did with Dessen Sprache du nicht verstehst and Naturgemäß I and II.

Remaining books on art

Here are the remaining obligations in art history, theory, and criticism. Green = completed. The books are finished, but the editing continues, so I’m keeping track of the work using the table at the end of the document.

  1. The Impending Single History of Art: North Atlantic Art History and Its Alternatives. A book on the worldwide practices of art history, theory, and criticism. Most chapters were written online. Under review at Singapore University Press.
  2. Visual Worlds: Vision, Its Objects, and Its Disciplines. A large textbook for Oxford University Press, co-authored with Erna Fiorentini. Several chapters are online. To be published 2017.
  3. What Heaven Looks Like. An experimental book on an 18th century MS. To be published with Laboratory Books, edited by David Fabricant, 2017, Four parts were published on the Huffington Post. Links are on Academia, starting here.
  4. Art Words vol. 1: Synthesize, Integrate, Cohere, Unify. This is a series of booklets, 20,000 words each, produced by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on the concepts used to assess and evaluate student artists. We haven’t found a publisher for them yet.
  5. Art Words vol. 2: Be Eloquent, Be Articulate, Defend Your Work, Be Clear! Booklet to be finished fall 2016.

Schedule follows on the last page.


Schedule of nonfiction books

2014 spring

2014

fall

2015

fall

2016

 spring

2016 fall

2017 spring

2017

fall

1  Artists with PhDs

Published May 18, 2014, New Academia

2  Art Critiques: A Guide

Published Nov. 2014  New Academia

3  The Impending Single History of Art

Still under review, Singapore Univ. Press

4  Visual Worlds 

MS delivered to Oxford

Readers’ reports answered

To be published

5  What Heaven Looks Like

MS delivered to Laboratory books

To be published