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The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
Being Written 
by William Conescu

Harper Collins eBooks, 2008

Reviewed by Cicily Janus

Being Written, a brilliant debut novel by William Conescu, is a virulent ride through fiction. This concise book truly speaks for itself in innumerable ways: 3-D characterization; a can’t-put-it-down plotting strategy; and singing, reality-ridden dialogue throughout. Evocative characters adorn each page with their tension, and as a reader you find yourself longing for the lead character Daniel to get the part he’s always wanted to play (that of the hero) and for Delia to leave the slumming leech in her life.  Throughout this book is a refreshing verbal wordplay between the characters. thoughts Just as Delia would have chosen the brooch to place upon her shoulders, each character’s words are the perfect compliment to an already well-dressed beginning of a long night’s affair.

                “It got tremendous reviews,” Natalie continued.
                “Well, then it must have been brilliant,” Delia says. “Jon, did you see it?”
                 Jon shrugs. “It was all right, but it was playing at the same time as Madison,
                 which you know I fell in love with--I wanted that play to bear my children--so
                 everything else I saw that trip kind of paled in comparison.”
                “I liked Madison,” Monty agrees. “I thought it was coming to Boston.”
                “No,” Jon replies. “It was trashed in the papers right after I saw it. Closed the next
                “God, I hate reviewers,” Delia announces at a volume sufficient to inform the
                 people at the next table. “Why do people need to be told what they should like?”
                “Because people are cows.” Graham replies.

Although other books have attempted a second or third point-of-view style, it’s hardly
ever pulled off with this kind of realism. Descriptive lives are played out through all
senses.  Descriptions of everything from the food on their plates to the make-up and
perfume on the women are written in real time. 

                You’re tempted to deal with the pile of dishes in the kitchen, but you resist the
                urge because now this is getting ridiculous.  You finally have the author recording
                every move, and here you are cleaning the apartment.  You feed water and
                grounds to the coffeemaker, toss a frozen bagel in the microwave, then sit down
                at the table. The scratching is with you, faint but steady. 
               You need to figure this out. If the author wants to describe your apartment, you
               don’t have to be here for that. Don’t have to be awake. Clearly you’re
               supposed to do something.  But what? “I can’t read your mind,” you say to the air
               around you. “Could you give a sign or something?”

There are many instances during the book that I felt, as a budding writer, Conescu has
written the perfect manual for new fiction writers; in a way, he’s working
through the cardinal rule of writing.  You show the readers everything and tell them
nothing.  Each leap in plotting takes you to another pushed boundary, but in the end the
reasoning is played out through rational and wonderful ways by Daniel, who’s spending
his energy, physical and mental, to live the ultimate heart-pounding life. 

This book is about what we’re all trying to do:  we’re all trying to write our own stories, staying with the big picture so we don’t get killed, being turned away by the girl/guy and ultimately ending up in the spot we all want to be in. Being Written offers a stunning look at the world of a writer through the characters, and in the end, you have to make up your mind as to whose story it really was. And as with all great authors, there’s more to come;  at least I hope so. No, there has to be.

CICILY JANUS began her life as a writer but somewhere in the middle she got lost as a musician then played around as a nurse. Having found her way back to her original plot, she mostly writes about music, other writers and the invisible people residing in her head. Cicily has been published in a lot of really cool places and her rat, Emma is her biggest fan.  She lives near the Rocky Mountains and often wonders if the constant lack of oxygen is the reason why her poetry no longer rhymes.  In her spare time, she runs a writers retreat as well as a looney-bin.  The writers retreat is still taking applicants but the looney bin is full until further notice.  You may visit her websites for further details: www.cicilyjanus.net or www.writingawayretreats.com.