Work on my new manuscript began to steamroll a few weeks ago and I have been careful not to get in the way of progress. There seems to be a tipping point when working on a story that signals the coming together of direction, in the sense that I was fumbling around when I began the novel and am now seeing things more clearly in comparison. I don’t believe you can create intellectually honest work unless you trust yourself to see your vision clearly, concisely, and truthfully.
So much of the new story has been written under the influence of dilaudid, alcohol, and other various narcotics that it seems inevitable those forces would enter the work in some capacity. I am not a junkie, but I’ve spent a fair share of time writing this book in hospital beds. Their effects are present, though not at the forefront of the conflict in the story. Living as a half dead writer means that the forces pushing me forward are characteristically extreme and harnessing them has been invaluable to me, as tragic as that may seem.
It is strange (though not unexpected) to look at the manuscript as a whole and to recognize the subconscious influence of my own life in the lives of fictional strangers.
“Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts? Can the writer renew our hope for literary forms? Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so that we may feel again their majesty and power? What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered? Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love? We still and always want waking.”
- Annie Dillard