Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Corinthians 13:11

I've bored you all with rants and whines about The Devil's Footprints. I've promised to release it repeatedly. This is nothing new, I've been saying it to myself for years. But a few months ago, I finished it. And I hate it. Though I love it.

I've struggled with defining what the driving force behind this story is. Is it about characters to whom a set of events is happening? Or is it about an event that people are caught in? Is it a set of ideas illustrated by a plot, or is it a story with a theoretical footnote? Somewhere in the debate, between self-proposal and self-rebuttal, I lost control over my own story.

Was I squeezing in so much plot that I focused too precisely on the whirlwind sweeping away my heroes? Should I instead have drawn a concise picture of the whirlwind through the reactions of my characters? And should my characters by defined by their thoughts and actions, or by their reaction to their environment and relationship to the others? I'm just too close, too involved. It's a house that's been remodeled past the point of resembling the original structure. I look through the windows of the house, through the glass darkly and wonder what happened to the source material.

It's trapped me. I've spent years walking in circles, writing and rewriting characters who were doing exactly that. In many respects I illustrated much of my own theme by never bringing the thing to completion. I started it nearly fifteen years ago, and when I could have moved on to more serious projects, spent time polishing my writing skills, I've instead lingered on to the perpetually unfinished story I would never conceive of writing now.

As more and more ideas stack up behind the dam I've built, I realize now that it's time to open the sluices. Today I'll be setting up a blog for The Devil's Footprints. I'll publish the prologue this evening, and let that first part go, feed it to the eRiver and be done with it. As I let it go, piece by piece, it'll be gone. I can't go back and change it.

I don't know if it's good or bad. I'm not even sure if I care. Maybe I'll care again as I put it together, this childish plastic model that's been collecting dust in my closet. Once I hang it on the wall, I can admire it or use it to see how far I've come at a later date. My family will pin it to their refrigerators, and I will forever fight the urge to delete it.

By telling you that it's not good, I am not preempting. I am not fishing. I am stating a fact. But that I've worked so long on it, to its credit or detriment, is reason enough to put it out there.

It's time to put away childish things.