Sunday, September 23, 2007

Semblance of Structure

Finally finished that difficult chapter of the novel. I've struggled for 5 and a half months on this one chapter alone. The novel writing always moves at a glacial pace, but this chapter was an Ice Age. I don't usually have this much trouble, but I started from scratch 3 times.

I struggled because I have a driving instinct for structure, and its structure eluded me. It may still. This chapter is told in memories, dreams, and hallucinatory visions. To write this chapter with any semblance of structure, I had to imagine an ivy growing up the rungs of a ladder.

I also struggled because of who the character is, and what he may represent in my psyche. This child-man, Bobby, the mystical child, is not only my aspiration to be an artist. He also represents my failure as an artist, as a man, or my fear of failure. He is not the hero of this novel, but its tragic character.

And I struggled because this chapter is the merging of the two main story threads, the Buchanan clan in pre-Katrina New Orleans and Gu YuHuan's search for wisdom in ancient China.

Tall order, huh? I don't never do nothin' easy.

Well I'm done with it. At least for now. Printing out my 2 copies, one for the black binder and another for my writing mentor. Dorothy's in Georgia now, teaching at Emory. She's the one who told me, "take the time it takes to write your novel." That advice requires a sort of Zen. But lately my Zen is challenged, and I'm dissatisfied by the pace of things, the writing, acting. Blah blah, bitch and moan. At least I finished the damn thing.

1 comment:

Sean Hobbs said...

I feel you on the problems of creation. I stood around static and pacing in the woman's house for two weeks last month trying to get through one simple chapter of her book. Nothing would help. I would just pace and pace, look around and pace some more.

In other news I have a new big idea! Maybe novel length ... maybe fiction and nonfiction combined.