Dating ONESELF- The Soul or the White Elephant? ( A New Years gift is there for the asking-see below)
Since ‘coming clean’ is my new tagline I had better fess up. I have always believed I was pretty focused, purposeful, autonomous. Now I recognise I am compulsive and its not pretty. I am like a ship under full sail, but the anchor is not weighed nor the compass set, and under the sharp wind of urgent time I list; capsizing may not be far away.
I don’t understand it.
Okay I admit I was getting out of breath on this pulsing Quest, and content to let all the fit, able and certain to disappear from view. Not merely age but uncertainty took advantage of this fallen log to review why I had kept running. This was a quest for the young, fit and be-fitting.
I thought I was definitely getting deeper into the bowl of clarity. I had dismissed the claims of my past, and paused on the cusp of a new direction. That was going to forge a new book appropriate to someone of my age- the saga that would explore not only my life, straddling Africa and Europe but, more importantly, the patterns that apply to any family working through damage (and thereby effecting more of it): Karma writ large through generations. We choose our family, and working out why might have relevance for all families perceiving patterns. Mine is quite a story.
No sooner resolved to stride out than roped back by a sudden interest in the book already written. The one I was resolved to abandon to its floating fate!
It seems to me this Quest 2016 ( the extended New Year Resolution) is not unlike on-line dating but with ONESELF.
The small self lays out a profile :’ I am nearly 75, I am tired, I wrote two books I was compelled to write. I have been a dismal failure in getting either to market. I cannot proselytize but I am a good writer. Plus points: I know how to work; I am able with words; I have time. Minus points:I have nothing to offer but ideas. They are not practical, no ‘doable lists’, no obvious applications for any kind of tribe. Yet they drive me like an over-stoked steam engine, and seem to excite others.’
First response, the larger SELF who emails ‘You don’t have to remember 75, your failure could be addressed by diligent discipline, and besides, we had an important message which you are willing to abandon. If you admit to failure then why not address the reasons for it’. (Schoolmarm, not seductive).
Small self ‘ I have perhaps five years of mentally creative life. Are you saying I should no longer create, but flog a book, expensively rebrand it and possibly waste all time and money, in case my/our earlier failure can be remedied? Is it not possible the acclaimed book is past its sell by date?’
SELF ‘How will you know one way or the other, if you don’t?
Small self ‘ We wrote that in tandem. Does it occur to you we could be simply incompatible after years of co-existence? Can’t you bless my freedom?’
SELF I could bless it, but you can’t. (Or you would not be pleading with me). But you are stuck with me, whatever you decide.
Small self; We could meet for a drink and talk?
SELF Just do the homework first, and ask a few opinions. Other voices? You never know what you think until you can disagree.When you began you said you would listen-so listen.
You Questers are the jury in this trial of strength. I put it to you.
In answer to Charlie Gilkey’s Which element of your best work do you most want to amplify this year? #amplify
Involution-An Odyssey (OK Not the greatest title but that’s what comes of listening to ‘authorities’) was my best work then. Is it still?
Anyone minded to help me decide can have a free ecopy of this book. It may soon disappear! ( Just securely provide your email address through Mailchimp by subscribing to either of my websites. It would be a pleasure to send it. Here is one top right corner to subscribe) And here is the other ( see follow PHI lippa on main menu) You can always un-follow! This is no hook towards anything else.
Choice ONE So called Magnum Opus (Involution -An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God) which would be
- a) Republished (with a new title) as it is by a market savvy ‘publisher’ who asks $3000 to relaunch Involution. He has not read it but proposes to ‘re-edit’ something as fused as a honeycomb. I would have to podcast, write articles, blog only about this book. It would absorb all energy.( Padre Jeffrey says you cannot sell a book, except on the back of the PERSON!- Old squaw on log?)
- b) A publisher of poetry who wants to extract the poetic narrative journey through Western thought and leave the science contained within it to be detected by the perceptive. They can then download the scientific notes for free. This would be with the help of a committed but small scale company I trust and in very good poetic company. Exceeding generous and exceeding tempting!
So: To Todd Henry’s question: It takes bravery to know your strengths and operate diligently within them. Are you running your race, or someone else’s? #BraveRace
Involution was absolutely my race, and nobody else’s. What now seems to be on the table are more suggestive of other people’s races ( My book dressed in their concept) So instead of a) above shall I settle for b) and then
- Embark on
- a) Writing a screenplay ( taken from a completed novel) that underpins what led to the writing of Involution. I know nobody in films or production. It might nudge a new understanding (a fresh pair of boots to the weary field?) Or I could throw out the novel as it stands.To be equally unsold.
- b) Write an entirely new and extended memoir that provides a portrait of what divides the Antipodean (Africa) from the European (England) This would offer rich characters, ripe situations, a deeper philosophy, and get my own house in order. Rather like this extended resolution, life passing before the eyes of the (slowly) dying? It includes George Eliot in an interesting new guise and her anniversary comes up in three years. Some publisher might bite?
Finally from Jen Louden What’s the story you most desire to bring to life in 2016?
What’s the story your just-right client most desires to bring to life in 2016?
Where do your two stories overlap
Formulating the three words that occupy that blue ground I found these: Reconciliation, Revitalisation and Creation. What I decide needs all of them.
Clearly the African memoir lights me up the most in answer to Creation
But in consideration of my just right client (that would be my readers and those who help to find them) it seems the relaunched Involution would be pressing its Reconciliation nose against the window. Not sure it is waving Revitalisation?
Where do they overlap? This is less clear. I can only suggest it might be telling two stories simultaneously. Writing one while steering another, which probably means running with the publisher of the poetry who will allow me the time to write creatively. Nearly there!
The small self seeks for more creation, the larger SELF still wags an admonishing finger. Jeffrey’s recent caveat that one’s best work might not necessarily be the most ‘pleasurable’. More duty?
Please help get me off these ropes!
And a very Happy New Year to all fellow travellers.