Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I have to wonder...

At the changes in my life and directions I wound up taking that brought me to the point where I'm parenting the story of an Irish Catholic boy from the ephemeral to the page. It's like some hysterical joke being played on me by the Cosmos. How can we find someone who is the complete opposite of the main character in this book...someone who still has a hint enough of the knowledge needed and language spoken to understand it...and then drag him into its birth? Wouldn't it be funny to make him responsible for it making sense not only to those who never set foot in Ireland but to those who lived through the period in the area as what is now seen as a disaster unfolded around them?

The more I learn about Brendan's life, the more I know I know nothing about it. Yet still I'm the designated spinner of tales, and it's overwhelming, at times. I sense what he wants me to relate...I can feel it shifting about behind my chest, using my heart as its hiding place and letting itself be seen only by way of brief shadows cast against my mind's eye. These moments come in spurts then stop and wait, and it smiles to itself in sweet remembrance of all the times it's let me follow the wrong path only to finally reveal what I've written has no truth or meaning.

But I don't understand why I was shown these paths to begin with. Are they tests to see if I can recognize what is and should not be? I don't think so. I don't think I'm digging deep enough, somehow. I don't think I'm really being mislead as just carried into a different part of the story and told to sit still till it's the right time for the rhyme and reason to make itself known.

I think this because I wrote a section where Brendan is nearly arrested by the British and while trying to escape winds up falling through a door to land on his back and look straight up at the ceiling only to see a hand with a pistol appear above him, aiming in the direction from which he fell and then firing. Sounds pretty Hollywood, right? Except...I remember dreaming about this image and not knowing the why and the wherefore of it. It was a flash in the middle of some night and it woke me, it was so vivid, and then it appeared in this chapter, and I think, "That's just the right place. That's where it's meant to be." Except...I don't know.

Sure, you can explain it by claiming I dreamed it and merely decided to use it here, but my writing is not that calculated. I've tried to be, with my scripts. Honest. I've tried to put in everything I'm told a great screenplay has to have at the point where it has to happen according to all the script gurus...and when I do that my work turns out like crap. It's not until I listen to my characters and let them pick and choose what will and will not be here and there that a story works for me. And works against script readers and evaluators, who look for what they're told to look for by those very gurus.

But that's how I am -- almost self-destructive while being the guardian and protector of the words I've been given. You know, even my erotic novels are not really erotica. They're brutal stories about people being betrayed and then betraying, in return...and what sex there is in them feeds into that theme. And the same theme is building in "Place of Safety" -- albeit without sex being used as a weapon of revenge. And if anything comes across as wrong or untrue or unreal in it, the whole book will fall apart. And that very nearly panics me. So I wonder if this dream is appropriate for this moment. But it's locked itself down right where it wants to be. And I can't move it. So I guess it stays.

Thank God I never had kids; it's fuckin' hard being a parent.

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