I am now in the process of editing and rewriting the first draft of ‘Kafue- the first book of David’.
The first draft of the story was 123k words, which to give some proportion, Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ is about 250k words, and Hemingway’s ‘the old man of the sea’ is, atmost, 40k words.
This means that I have lots of flesh to cut away to bring the story down to a lean, fast flowing stream of 90k words.
As a teaser, here are the opening paragraphs of the story
The opening paragraphs of ‘Kafue – The First Book of David’:
Each time I travel the road between Kasempa and Mumbwa, I am reminded of an aged alcoholic. This is because the road slowly wends its barely satisfactory way across the landscape.
I guess, like a few of my old red faced friends, it is still a functioning one. It gets from here to there, but not much else. It does so not so much because it follows the most direct, or efficient path, but rather it survives, like my friends, due to decades of experience gained from the dictates of a hard and unsteady life, as is commonplace in this remote part of the world.
The road, like those old soaks, now with its blemishes, and no longer having the nimbleness of youth, has learned that it is more expedient to give a wide berth to as many obstacles as possible. As such, at times its dusty surface leans and teeters to the left, or the right, as it sways its way around a low hill, or behind a marshy dambo, on its winding progress through the timelessness of the bush. Scruffy, dirty, and pock marked with ruts and pot-holes like the wrinkles of neglect and the scars of aged acne, it also sometimes staggers sharply to avoid a freshly fallen tree, or a recently formed rut, pressed into its mud during the wet season, by the wheels of the overloaded ‘malasha’ trucks.
David Maritz on the left, on my parents farm between the Sebakwe and Unyati rivers in Zimbabwe.