There’s a line between dedication and obsession. Often, I think I know exactly where that line is. Often, I am wrong.
Once started on a path, my inability to stop can lead me into trouble: overwork, fixing on a goal without reprieve, not giving up when maybe I should. Still, I’m grateful for my tendency to keep at a thing until it’s done. That is how I have got my most recent story on the page.
By story, I mean, novel. In fact, I’ve got almost the length of two novels–140,00 words and then some–rolling page after page across the screen.
For years, I periodically asked myself if I wanted to write a novel, and always, the answer was an emphatic No. Too long, too much research, who could cope with a project that size? Not me.
Until I had a story to tell that demanded, as I told it, to grow beyond and beyond and beyond what I had imagined I could do.
The act of writing, all the components of it, has always pleased me, even when the results fall short of what I hope for. Yet no writing, in the process or in the result, has ever satisfied me the way this manuscript does.
The result is not perfect, artistically. I will be taking advice from my beta readers, following my own instincts, revising, deepening, chopping chopping chopping. Possibly, the final book will never be ‘perfect’ to me or to others. But I will be perfectly proud, because it will be the best that I can do, and I will have done it. I am doing it.
My novel is a love letter to the land where I live, to the powerful beauty of nature and the complicated hearts of humans, to the quest to tell the truth about ourselves even when it costs us dearly. Can truth ever cost too much? This draft of this novel says no. But that, of course, is not the only answer, and each person must measure the price in their own heart and hands.
Other stories are nudging me now, more complex explorations of the same themes. First, I’ll finish this one. Then, I’ll start on them. I may keep on with poetry, flash fiction, short stories. Those reflect me too. But the full truth of me is different now. Do I want to write a novel?
Yes. I do.