Friday, March 1, 2013

A Tale of Two Tales

Okay, I feel like I'm going somewhere again. First of all, "V" is not lost. It was like a star that got too big, too massive, and finally collapsed in upon itself. But the core remains, and it now seems purified. What I realized is that many parts of that grand construction were not essential to that particular story, and began to feel like so much dead weight, making the task of writing it feel unnecessarily burdensome. And that's the opposite of inspiration. I realized that many of those individual parts might work better elsewhere, and some were perhaps not necessary at all, mere filler. I made a list of what I felt to be the essential elements of "V", and after looking at it, I felt much better. It now seems much more clear, a simpler, smaller-scale, but more aesthetically unified idea.

I had always thought of that story as being one of my mid-length fictional works, perhaps a novella or a short novel at most (it was originally, in fact, only a short story), not the overblown epic it was somehow evolving into. I already have two ideas for truly epic novels, stories which can only exist in epic form because of their very nature, and I don't need to give myself more work than is necessary in this short and distracted life. After all, Homer wrote two epics, and that is more than most authors have done. I'll feel incredibly grateful and fulfilled if I am able to complete my two epic novels before I leave this earth.

(I should note that I have described Bluebird as an epic, and I suppose it is in some sense, but it is of fairly standard novel length and would be dwarfed by these other two works.)

Now for the new novel idea... its working title, as I have said, is "Rainbow". This is a reference to The Wizard of Oz. I'm not sure yet if the actual title will contain the word "rainbow" or not; we'll see.

The idea of this novel being a companion piece to Bluebird is becoming stronger. I am thinking that the protagonist may very well be Martin Lane, the best male friend of Thomas Fairchild, Bluebird's main character. I can't help but think of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and how the best friend of the first novel's protagonist became the main character of the latter novel.

It would not be a sequel, nor a prequel. It may overlap in time. But I am actually not overly concerned with continuity. In fact, I'm not particularly concerned to go out of my way to avoid apparent contradictions or irresolvable, differing accounts. I am thinking of these stories as myths, and my characters as mythic figures. As in ancient myths, many varying tales were told about gods and heroes, and it would have been difficult if not impossible to put them all together into a coherent whole. That's okay because myth is poetry, not history. It tells truth in a symbolical way, and by circumventing the literal accounts of science and history, it can access aspects of reality and truth otherwise invisible or incommunicable.

Like Bluebird (indeed, perhaps like every novel I shall write), "Rainbow" is philosophical. If The Bluebird of Happiness was primarily about, as its title would suggest, happiness and the possibility thereof, then "Rainbow" is primarily about beauty, and its significance in human life. If Bluebird was a tragedy, then "Rainbow" is more of a fairy tale. But, as in all fairy tales, there will be much darkness to overcome.

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