Week one blew away the past. A tsunami concentrated its power on the shack I occupied, and I discovered wattle and daub dissolves.
Week two I think was meant to re-align a future by reassembling components, envisioning pavilions of peace, and planting thyme for aromas of permanence. I tried, but failed. Here’s why.
In examining what Olderwiser might have to say in a years time I got permission to ‘lose myself creatively’. Great. Run with that. No daydreams were possible. At my age that’s kinda silly. What was I doing that would cause me to be missed? That purple patch? Reconciled by writing the life ( as in memoir) that might explore the repetitive patterns within any family that remain unseen but destructive. A sort of re-assembly from the debris on the beach. The figurehead toppled slantwise was George Eliot about whom I know what nobody else does, and why she snaked through stories nobody believed. I discovered in the recesses of the British Library my grandmother spoke the truth and it explained why we had a first edition of Daniel Deronda signed by GE and inscribed to a great great aunt.
Relating to? A new audience? How different? My own memory rather than the memory of evolution that nobody reads. It is also the anniversary of George Eliot in 2019. For once madame is faintly commercially aware.
I thought I was doing well. Two feet forward.
Yesterday a major monsoon.
I received a phone call from a publisher urging me to let him have sight of THE book (currently called Involution-thanks to another authority I listened to!) with an eye to republishing! Under a different title. Maybe also to write a screenplay from the novel describing why it is not as insane as it might appear. Could I run to regular podcasting? Just three times a week?
Now after four years of averted eyes, and ‘poor thing’ it was , I admit, very affirming. Any author would leap for joy. I did at the time (yesterday pm). Then I realised that having destroyed my house I would be blown over by any wind. Maybe this was just a squall?
Last night I had a dream. I was looking down on the entrance to a slightly scruffy house with certain potential. At the gate were three fountains, one noble marble catching the sun, one a zinc tub and the third a kind of water barrel. My first thought was ‘what a pity, they all detract from one another. It only needs one’ Who in their right mind would…?
So which is the fountain to keep? Which is the right mind? Until I can answer this I cannot answer the current question from John Jantsch.
Your Quest2016 Prompt today:
What can you stop doing in 2016 such that it would allow you to focus on higher payoff activities? #Payoff
I genuinely seek advice from this perceptive group. I cannot manage both together. Undoubtedly if THE book (re-titled) reached more readers it would seem more marble than zinc. It would take every bit of energy and time. But is that the marble? Is an idea, however crafted, more solid than a life of experience? I am at a loss which way to turn. All opinions would be welcome!
21 thoughts on “Quest 2016. A Future? Which one?”
Which fountain would you rather bathe in?
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I knew I could count on you! Probably the zinc tub for capacity but likely to spring leaks. Maybe the oak barrel for diverse applications, and holding the washing. The marble was catching all the sunlight and even in the dream I recognised that whoever occupied the house had placed it perfectly to do that! And very quickly. So round and round. This quest2016 is proving very powerful but not sure much will be left standing!
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Quest are curious things. What happened to Galahad when he had completed his quest? That’s the question that occupies my mind at present, having witnessed a friend recently achieve her own holy grail.
Can’t this said publisher afford to buy your book to get a sight? He, she, may be well intentioned, but you’ve got more books in you, and a good publisher should support you as a writer per se.
When it comes to fountains, there are quite a few in my first novel, nothing beats natural springs.
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Its only a first conversation, and may well lead nowhere. He has only heard about the book, not yet glanced through it, but my enquiry was about how much more weary travail I can manage. To be fair he was interested in all the books, including Rapture, and suggested it would make a fantastic film, which I think it would. I could cut out so many explanations and conversations and take the viewer into a re-run of ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest’! Since it is mostly dialogue that should come easily! A natural spring?
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Some questions from the bar:
What is the reason for the publisher’s keen interest in what is admittedly difficult material? Why does he think he can achieve success with content as yet unreviewed?
That said, my sole advice is to follow the path that will bring the greatest instinctive pleasure. Is that pursuit of Involution, or the secrets of George Eliot?
Very astute focus K. I think he felt that with a less off-putting title it might attract younger (and hipper) readers without the entrenched views of scientism! He felt it was a hypothesis whose time had come ( after 45 years that now rings a little hollow!) I still would have to labour to reach them.
In answer to your second question I think GE ( and many others)would be a better travelling companion, but do I ‘serve’ or ‘enjoy’? If the latter to what end? Time serving out? I blow about like thistleweed.
Depends on the publisher Philippa. How many books under their umbrella, and what books are under their umbrella. I’ve been approached by load of small presses for African Me but you have to apply logical and totally realistic thinking. Consider what you will be signing away. Maybe if it is a small press, concentrate your energy on finding a reputable agent who will know what to do.
Thanks Jo, for thoughtful contribution. It seems to be a medium and reputable company that concentrate of ‘books that matter’. But I have an alternative offer from a very generous poetry publisher with a small but gleaming stable, who would do it completely differently, as poetry not science. Neither the larger or the smaller are under any illusions about the size of its market ( pretty small) but have a different market in mind the first ‘cutting edge philosophy of science’the second ‘literature’. Probably scant overlap.
Having been on the point of giving up on it altogether, and ready to turn to other things of more general appeal ( if done well) I feel like a caveman’s wife being dragged back by the hair! To moil and toil in the kitchens of the WWW! No agent would take it on because neither of these will pay anything. I would not really expect them to but they might help crowd fund it. Odd that they should have answered the Quest? Just when I was getting ready to write!
I remember a guitar instructor who said when you practice, do some warm up exercises, play an old, familiar piece, then work on the new piece. Play from memory then read something new. Have a few goals, but don’t let any one piece consume you. Listen. If someone else wants to listen, fine; if not, play to the trees and birds and cats and squirrels. You will find them a friendly audience, though I was once thought I was heckled by a blue jay, until I realized she just wanted to join the chorus. I was playing at the time a cheap guitar, but I had several guitars. You should sell all these cheap guitars and buy one good one, he told me. Then he moved away. He was giving up guitar for a job as a typist.
Trying to penetrate the intricacies of this moral tale Joe. I thought I was getting somewhere until I reached the last sentence! I was on the point to laying out to you the issues summarised above. Now, do I have the courage to do that? Am I brave enough for the answer?
Perhaps the real question is not this or that, but why? Why this driving compulsion to write what nobody wants to read. There has got to be something seriously maladjusted. I think I’ll ‘sell the cheap guitars and turn into Dorothy Parker. She got paid for the sardonic one liner. Thanks for adding a tot of single malt.
I still have that cheap guitar, btw…go to the beach guitar, lend to someone who thinks they might be interested, etc. It’s over at ZZ’s place now. I’ve had that guitar since the late ’60’s. It has very little to do today with what my instructor mentioned earlier thought of as ‘guitar.’ Today ZZ and I played “Twist and Shout” on it. Well, some version thereof… Tomorrow, I’m going to get some new strings for it. I’ll make a recording with it for this week’s 78 RPM Saturday Night! Meantime, to speak more plainly, and literally: I think you should pursue these Involution interests, make the changes, but also work on something new, and don’t let any of the pieces get too overwhelming. Keep on truckin’!
allow your dreams to guide you Philippa? You know on some deep level which way to turn … be open to ongoing synchronicities.
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Congrats on the offers and on the affirmations: I hope you’ve ‘chosen’ your basin.
I’m fascinated by your dream, and having read about Joe’s guitar, I have another interpretation. If it doesn’t make sene, please ignore, as this is my first visit here.
Perhaps the house is your ‘writing’ and the basins are genres. One being ‘Involution’ and what you most want to write, another being a compromise of what you want to write and what everyone believes will sell, and the last being writing only what will sell. If this is so, you could have all three; each for different parts of your garden:) But they’ll all require maintenance.
Whatever you choose, I wish you well:)
Thanks Leena. An interesting and refreshingly simple choice and analysis! You could well be right. Only the marble was in full sunlight ( ie out in the world) the other two were in shadow. The oak tub solid and versatile, the zinc a quick but ultimately unattractive option. Bears a lot of thinking about. This has been an interesting journey with such identified companions!
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Glad to be on it with you 😀