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Monday, August 06, 2007

You're Stucked, Lady!

My dear friend Alexander Luvin showed great concern when he wrote, "I just got scared when I found out about Flicka finishing a book and being stuck with it."

But, I'm not stucked. Far from it. And, even if I were, no writer should ever be afraid of the same.

I do suppose that writers write for many different reasons. But I think it's fair to assume all want an audience and money, to some extent. But why a writer writes will directly influence how he goes about seeking those two trophies. If I wanted an audience, I could post a whole bunch of pictures of myself in various states of undress on the internet. And I'd have an audience. If I wanted money I could get a job. (Shudder.)

Any writer can attain audience and money much faster and less painfully apart from writing than by it. Continuing to pursue those bad twins through writing exposes them for the impostor objectives that they are.

So then, do I not want those things for Rainmaker? I do. But, I'm in no hurry. And that's the direct result of what interests me and why I write.

Commercial fiction, does not hold my attention. Especially, ESPECIALLY, Christian Fiction. At least not in it's current Genre + Gospel manifestation, anyway. If it did, I would go about writing a story in exactly the opposite way that I do. I would, first of all, relish commercial fiction and greedily devour every new title the publishers released. Then, I would learn everything I could about what my favorite publishers in my favorite genre liked in a writer and were looking for in a book. Then I would ape it until I became it and I would sell them exactly what they were asking for.

As it is, I find reading most commercial fiction to be such a tedious task that it is almost too much for me. I can not do the research necessary to discover what publisher's want because, very often, I can not stand to read what they sell. Even now, I'm slogging my way through a Christian Best Seller by an author who has had one of his books adapted into a major motion picture and I find it about as captivating as a sink full of dirty dishes.

It is The Same. It's a story that's mostly about the Twist, or Angle, or Catch. That is to say, it is a plot driven story with a broken down plot and all energy being directed towards bearing up the clever twist that is so meant to carry the reader on bedazzled wings. It's a beast of burden breaking under too heavy a load, I find.

The narrative is elementary. It is punch, punch, punchy. With lots of fragmented sentences. For emphasis.

It's guilty of gross misconduct with one-sentence paragraphs. If it is offset by itself, it is weighty, wise or witty, right? In fact, it only serves to highlight inanities.

It's characters are dumb and act in unnatural ways. But they are beautiful.

The only reason I'm reading it is because my mother informed me that this author was rejected by most Christian publishers as being too edgy. Perhaps, she reasoned, his publisher would be interested in Rainmaker.

But the book is not edgy like Rainmaker is.

Don't get me wrong, this author is highly skilled and accomplished. His attempts to explain Christianity and God through metaphor are very good. He knows his craft. It's just not my cup of tea, is all. And I have no desire - none, nadda, zilch- to remake myself in his or anyone else's image.

So, why do I write?

Primarily I write because I have something I need to say. I have a broad concept or idea I need to explore and demonstrate. And I have these people in my head that only I know. And I think they have done something or overcome something that deserves to be told. It is their story. And I find them worthy and feel obligated to make them known, to let them live apart from me. I start where I need to start in order to be able to tell what I need to tell. And once my character's have all done what they did that made me start the story in the first place, my story is finished. That's how and why I write.

As for Rainmaker, he desperately needs editing. I'm getting help along those lines from generous friends. And I will rewrite the denouement because I have never been satisfied with that. But, other than that the story is Done. I've said what I set out to and I've given my characters a fair shake. There may be things wrong with the story on many different levels. There may be ten thousand things wrong with the story. But it will not be belabored. I gave it life but I refuse to nurse it.

As for holding on to it: I guess I just can't stand the process of selling it. My dream would be to self publish and self promote my books one day anyway. And I"m very, very busy right now. I don't want to spend my precious spare time doing something I hate, like sending out inquiry letters.

I'm getting ready to have my fourth child. I'm getting a real estate license at my husbands request. I'm going to get licensed to teach Yoga. I'm decorating my kids' bedrooms. I'm carpooling. Life is too full with good things to exchange them for a bad job I can't stand.

I'm going to start another book in the Fall. It will not fit neatly into any genre. It will be about Christ's redemption but it won't be suitable for the Christian market. It'll be a horror story of sorts.

That's what I like to do. That's what holds my interest.

And besides, I have tremendous faith in the universe altering force of creative energy. I'm no more "stuck" with this book than a farmer is stuck with seed for harvest. Latent in every act of creation is a power that works on its own behalf seeking self expression, freedom and fellowship. This is true of my stories as well. I can not be stuck with something that exists apart from myself but only with something I never delineate from my own thoughts. My thoughts belong to me. Rainmaker's Wrestling no longer does.

In short, write for your own reasons, but know what they are. And never be afraid of what you finish. Be afraid of what you never start.

by C. C. Kurzeja
2006 All Rights Reserved