A Thumbnail Archeology, or, From Jottings to Contract & Beyond

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By John Domini

It was wholly personal, first to last, yet I’d never have finished the book without thinking who else might read it and why — thinking, that is, of suspense, sequence, and the market.

At first it was only jottings, a diary. No Moleskin, rather a hand-sized spiral-bound thing off the Safeway shelves for “School Supplies.” I needed to get back to school, though I was approaching 40. I needed to start over, to forge a life that felt more honest. In the effort to renew, nothing proved so helpful as the old. More and more I worked out trips back to Naples, the ancient seaport where my father had grown to adulthood and I’d visited as a teenager. The downtown byways may have remained in continuous use longer than any around the world, and there I became a kid again. I traveled wrinkled yet wide-eyed, my knees…

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