hello, everyone, i am finally ready to 'reveal to the world' that i have finally completed the writing of my mystery novel. i think i may have mentioned the novel here on the blog once before, but have not mentioned it again for quite some time primarily because i wasn't sure whether i was really going to be able to pull it together in the end.
well, it looks like i have, and by that i mean that i feel pretty good about it, have ironed out rough areas, chosen best versions, synthesized, cut, improved, and re-read it myself with pleasure after such a long absence from it that it seems to have been authored by someone else, and have found i feel satisfied enough to expose it to the light of day. (I will self-publish it, of course.)
by the way, there is quite an interesting discussion going on over at the cassandra pages (look for the link on my sidebar) right now about the virtues of free online versus self publication and/or conventional publication.
but before i get into the many issues of publication, i just want to express a few things about what writing the book has meant to me as a spiritual artist.
for starters, writing this book has been like making one long prayer. i've tried to fit in a lot of what i've loved and what has enriched my own life, i've tried to express my spiritual vision of life, and some of the problems that have confronted that vision in my own life. I've written the novel with love, devotion, dedication and pleasure. at times, i've had to work on it like someone condemned to the mines as well.
no children or animals are harmed in my book. i found it rather challenging to write a mystery novel in which no one is killed or materially harmed, but i think i've managed to pull it off. at one point, several years ago, i was in a writing group with the project for a while, and the folks there thought the book was a page-turner. that's supposed to be a virtue in a mystery novel, so that's all right.
the group was not really meant for anything as tawdry and pedestrian as a mystery novel, but my work was tolerated, critiqued, helped, complicated, confused and chewed up, but in the end most of what was offered was useful, and i was later able to go forward with the project on my own, which in the end, is i guess how it has to be. friends have read it, but friends 'like' everything, right? so the group, the exposing of oneself to the anvil of other literati, was undoubtedly helpful.
when i was younger, i was a 'deep thinker' kind of gal, the kind of gal who read dostoevsky in high school, tolstoy for pleasure. it's no wonder i studied theology and became an expert in the area of grief. but as i've gotten older i've embraced the value of 'play,' and maybe more than anything else, my mystery novel embodies my desire for play. i wanted to play with the setting of the novel, with the characters, with the plot and its resolution.
i discovered and allowed all sorts of (to me) fascinating interconnections among my characters to evolve. i had a general idea of where i was going with the book - i think that must be pretty necessary in a mystery novel - but it became much much richer as i went along, and i was frankly really amazed by the internal cohesiveness of so much that emerged.
the whole process of emergence, the feeling of emergence - where was all of this coming from? - was very exciting and powerful. it all came from a mysterious somewhere and i never knew what was coming next. my plot-line and story could probably have been written in twenty pages, but instead two hundred have become manifest. the color and texture of the experience have been quite wonderful. i've often wished i'd had more training as a painter or other visual artist, and perhaps my book is not as intellectual as might be hoped for because it is something of a substitution for a painterly experience, but there is room for many genres - "in my Father's house, there are many mansions" - isn't that so?
well, thanks for listening. you may be hearing more about my novel as i move it toward publication. i will keep you posted.