Thursday, August 14, 2014
What Happens to all the Words That Die in The Process of Writing a Novel?
What came up as I was saying all this to Mini-Freud was somewhat surprising, at least to me. That is, a great wave of sadness rose up and appeared in written words, not water. All these written words were the ones that didn't make it into the final book. Discarded scene after discarded scene, and back story after detail, all of which have been cut from the novel, and they washed over me, and I felt a sense of enormous grief. How is it that all these beloved words, these hundreds of pages, which did their duty in service to building the little boat that is my novel, are now gone, erased, their work complete? What happens to the unused writing when the little vessel floats out there on its own? It's just a slim volume compared to all that has been written in it and as it over the years to get to this very launching? How will it do on its own without the support of every single left-behind thought, word, image, metaphor, and scene that helped to create it? All those words that only I know about. What if those are the words that justify the novel as being worthy of reading?
Mini-Freud suggested in his gentle way that perhaps I am grieving all the choices not taken in my own life, all the options passed by on the way toward realizing my one impermanent, imperfect, fragile life. He said, "To actualize anything, especially a life, we leave a lot of dreams behind, don't we?" Ah, Mini-Freud, how wise you are. Ah, novel, I hope you have a safe, adventuresome, and long journey into the world without too many storms. Sail boldly in the name of all the words that have drown in your honor.
*Or maybe I was feeling disgruntled and he asked me how I was feeling? I always know who's who in there.