So, while I’m waiting for the publication of my new book, I’m turning back to the work-in-progress, which has me in something of a twist.
It’s been a relief, frankly, to put it aside for a couple of months while I concentrate on the ‘bidness’ of publishing. However, The Big Dog now wants to be walked, and in lieu of having it pee on the carpet and eat my furniture, I am paying it all the attention I can.
I’ve started this new book a number of times. This happens with all my books, incidentally, so I’m not panicking over that. With every book I’ve written, I’ve struggled, sometimes for years, with the proper voice, the appropriate psychic distance, which POV to use, etc. I started THE RADIANT CITY twelve times before I found the right tone.
And I’ve really been wanting to write this new book, which started out as an exploration of the death-by-suicide of my brothers (yes, plural) based in myth and folktale, and which I envisioned as full of fantastic creatures and a journey to the underworld, perhaps to my own subconscious. But I’ve never written anything like that before, and after about a hundred pages, I got cold feet. Maybe it was too ambitious; maybe I should write a memoir (NOT!); maybe I should write the sort of thing I’ve written before — grounded in reality, a psychological drama. So I tried that. Wrote maybe sixty pages in the third person. Got bored. Went back and wrote another sixty or seventy pages, in the first person. Better, but still flat.
Then I picked up that original manuscript again, full of strange creatures and an odd bookstore no one ever visits and a journey through a city of hidden labyrinths and a lost son.
It had been many months since I read that piece, and I found myself intrigued, reading on, wanting to know what happens next. Of course, I have no idea what WILL happen next, but one thing’s clear: this odd, kind-of-unlike-me story, the ambitions of which scare me more than a little, is the one in which the power lies.
So, I give in. This is the book I’ll write. This is the door I’ll open.
After all, if I’m going to spend the next four or five years of my life dedicated to a story, it had been be one that holds my interest, excites me, challenges me, teaches me something I didn’t know before. What’s going to happen in this odd story? No idea, but in writing, like in most things, the journey’s the thing. I’ll keep you posted as I wander through the odd alleyways . . . (in fact, I may send up a flare!).