It's unusual for me to disclose through a personal post, but I've been having a very hard time lately. My novel (ten years in the making) has been out in the world, making its way. It was read by two very trusted readers in the business, as well as not read by a few others (my agent, for instance). Those who have read it think that the first part of the book really works, but the rest doesn't. You'd think this news would be crushing, after all the time and effort I've put in, but I have to tell you I am feeling relieved. In part, I'm so happy to have my novel back. My wrinkled, blue, just-born, not-yet-perfect novel (See image above: can one of those be shoved back in?).
During the time when I thought I was finished, I felt aimless and distraught. I tried to bring back a couple of half-hearted new novel attempts, started at different points in the past decade, but I couldn't get my enthusiasm up. Is this because somewhere deep inside I knew the novel wasn't really right yet? Because I knew it wouldn't get published and ultimately it wouldn't be free of me (or me of it)? Or am I destined to feel this way at the completion of every overwhelming opus? (Will there be another? Couldn't I just retire happily as a bank clerk somewhere in the Midwest?)
Anyway, I have a fairly radical idea about how to address the problem of the second part of the novel not standing up to the opening. And so I am with purpose and happy again. I think this time I can make the entire book work, not just parts of it. If so, I will let go more easily, right? (Someone say right.)
In the meantime, this particular carefully placed round of rejections have been very helpful in allowing me to see the novel more clearly. You gotta love when that happens. Not to invest too much gratitude in the old literary rejection (most of them just plain suck), but I think I played this round pretty well. I only asked a few trustworthy people and got the same answer back. I still have to figure out what to do, but at least I have a direction.
So, anyway, peeps, I'm back at it again. And I'm weirdly happy about it. I have my ugly little baby back in my arms, I guess. What a life we choose (or chooses us) when we set out to write a novel. Sometimes I think I'm plain crazy.