No This But This: New Novel Just Released
My attempts to let this novel go into the world haven't been easy. It has been finished for a few months, just resting next to my computer, waiting for me to DO something. I don't know: blow trumpets or do a few rolls on the snare drum. But there it sat. Too intimate, maybe. But this is not a memoir. The main character and I are not the same person, though I do recognize so much about her responses to life, Her life, a quite different life from mine. Her name is Ella, and she and I are the same age--in the final years of a lifetime. She lives pretty much where I do, but not in the same house. As the story opens, Ella's life is in fragments. She has lost so much and been unable to make sense of her experiences. I may have been influenced by a review by Sandra Scofield of a friend's memoir: "[This] memoir is breathtakingly passionate, painful and exhilarating. A mature and gifted writer answers the question most of us don't dare to ask: Did I live the right life?"
No This But This is a work rising up from the way life tends to coalesce and integrate with age and longevity. I wrote it from my soul's depth, and the only part that does not come from there is the the story itself. What an odd experience writing this novel has been. Each character is, as it were, my soul in a different form, with a different history, following a different path, experiencing different challenges and conflicts, and resolving them in ways different from ways I have chosen.
At first, I didn't know how to classify the book. In a way, it is a memoir, except that these scenes never happened to me personally. By the same token, while writing I was remembering something internal, so intimate that I'm still shaken by having enclosed it in words that describe a fictional scene.
Like a shaman's journey, the writing of this book seemed to dismember me and cast the scraps of my own life to the wind.
I'm hoping this: that the completed novel carries in its characters and their story the intensity and intimacy about life's choices that I felt while I was writing.