Demolition of house and book
Yesterday while I was in the writing workshop, the contractor was demolishing the old house on the land where Veronica's House will be built. Amazing how different a piece of land can look after demolition of whatever structure was on it. In parallel, I'm sure the first draft of my novel Lily will look and feel different from what it is now (and has been since 1998) when I demolish it and build something else.
Lily is what I am attempting to rework in this workshop. I had written it over two or three days in 1998 when I was living in Woodbrook. I had woken up one morning consumed by the sudden impulse to write out what was streaming through my head. Perhaps it had come from a vivid dream, because everything was so markedly visual. I hurriedly started writing out the images I was seeing and did nothing else for two or three days and nights (except bathe and maybe drink water). It was like taking dictation from a boss who spoke rapidly and didn't let me go for coffee breaks. I had never been (and have never been since then) so consumed by any creative process. The visual descriptions were beginning to tell a story from the perspective of a camera. I didn't have a computer or a laptop then, so I had to borrow a friend's laptop, to enable me to keep up with the speed at which everything was coming. I didn't intend for it to be a book, but before I knew it, that's what I had. But it didn't feel like a 'book book'. It was a visual, moody, atmospheric piece which somehow had a particular rhythm, like a long piece of music using words as notes. (As I had been writing it I was also hearing the music, which is the reason why I went and got a loan and bought my keyboard Haniel).
A comment the writing tutor put at the end of the extract I had submitted (we had to submit 5 pages prior to being selected for the workshop): You use language here well. Your sentences sing. I think however you need to give your reader more clues, to follow your narrative line.
What she is saying is right and reflects what I always felt about Lily. The musical/lyrical aspects are the dominant parts. They are what swept me along. A narrative line is there, but all over the place and needing 'orchestration'. Literally, like a dream that I woke up from and tried to explain in concrete terms. It is also the 'vomit' she spoke about - what comes out first and needs to be reworked many times before becoming the publishable novel. So saying, I think it is very interesting vomit, with wonderful colours, textures and shapes ... but (again, as she told us) can we eat it right now?