It’s been said that it takes two to create a masterpiece- the artist and someone to shoot the artist when the work is finished. After I have written something I find it often continues to occupy my attention even after I have dusted off my hands and pushed the publish button on a blog post or sent a query letter along with the first ten pages of a manuscript. Over the ensuing days, I have a case of the, “Oh, there was just one more thing I wanted to mention.” Maybe, I think, I’ve discovered a clearer way to explain something, or an example to further illustrate a point. In some ways, this desire to add represents the downside of the “details” I wrote of in the previous blog post. When does the addition of detail no longer enhance intimacy (as I suggested previously), but obscure it from the reader/observer? When I was a minister, I had to raise money. Planning for a meeting with a potentially very generous donor, I huddled with the CEO of a very large company who was a member of my parish and would be joining me on this important call. He advised I should resist the temptation of overselling. “David”, he said, “don’t vomit”. Too much detail. Not enough detail. It’s a conundrum.
I have been thinking about editing and what we leave out of our work, as much as the detail we add to it. How we balance these two seemingly countervailing drives shapes not just what we create (outflow), but how we experience everything (inflow).
I am exploring this theme in the story I have for the moment called THE ROW HOUSES ON MAPLE STREET. What happens when a boy is told that his apprehension of reality has been constrained by the limited perception of the adults in his life? That leaving childhood has required him to shed a rich (and in this story very real) world that has included imaginary friends, angels, gods, monsters in the closet, boogey men, magic, paradox, and a kind of grandiosity that finds expression in the belief that he can do anything. What if this child discards a vastly expanded view of reality only to learn that his path to adolescence “edited out” access to a very real world which now lies just beyond his grasp because of a constrained system of beliefs?
Would it be a blessing or a curse to re-cultivate a belief wide enough to recapture this world while living in the dramatically edited world of adults? Would the child be “flooded” by the inflow of too much reality to retain his sanity? Could the child thrive in a world where he sees and experiences what others cannot? I wonder if this child might learn to harness this knowledge so that it manifests as power? Would the child be able to learn to edit, or perhaps better learn to manage, the bombardment of such an expanded reality?
I believe this child may need a mentor to help him adjust to a complete change in the rules of the universe, someone to help him with all this new detail; someone to help him with editing.
Now I will contemplate whether I pushed the publish button too soon.
Always welcome your thoughts?
April 11, 2017