I’ve been terribly absent from this blog of late and I wanted to send a little heads-up especially to those of you who have been kind enough to wonder and worry.
I have been very busy with work and travel. But, when I’ve had free time, I’ve finally been able to get in touch with one of the old novel manuscripts I am forever trying to finalize. It is a very old manuscript–first written probably at least fifteen years ago. This has made it very hard to pick up again, as there are many things about the style–the pacing and scene choices–that I would not adopt if I were writing it fresh.
My embarrassment about the stylistic choices has been intense enough that for years it has been hard for me to even look at this particular manuscript. At the same time, I could not bear the idea of massive structural revisions (though earlier on I did try some.)
But somehow now, I’ve just accepted the book, more or less, in its basic format. Yes, it has an older-fashioned pacing. Yes, it is very internal, probably a little static.
The content is also difficult. It is about child sexual abuse. No, it is not, thankfully, about me. But, because one colors one’s writings with the palette of one’s life–and I have definitely used elements of myself and of persons known to me to make the characters more real–it has long worried me that readers will assume that the content is true, that it is memoir rather than fiction, and that the book presents accurate descriptions of the real persons who bear similarities to the characters. (It does not.) Of course, I’ve worried that publication could inadvertently cause pain.
So, it’s been a struggle–all these issues still make me very uncertain as to how I will handle the completed manuscript–but I am almost there. The first five to ten pages are not quite right–probably the rest of the pages are not quite right either (!) but beginnings are always incredibly hard for me and especially here where the actual, true first pages were written before the story found its way. Nonetheless, I feel certain that pretty soon, I will either get these pages right, or just accept their current revised form.
Anyway, I want to thank all of you who’ve checked in to the blog. I wish I had a little more mental space as I really miss the wonderful engagement of writing poems, and the friendly back-and-forth of the online poetry community, but for now and a little bit longer, I just don’t have that reach.
The photo above is posted from my iPhone–you may need to click on it to see the whole thing.