Lilacs bloom, filling the warm air with heady scent. How do you describe the smell of a lilac? Does it smell like wind and sun? Silt and grapes? Smell has to be described as something else. A story of the heart has to be told as something else.
When I first caught the spark to write Weather Vane, I wrote to the man whose story had been its coal and asked if he would talk to me about his story, so I could get a sense of how it all unfolded for him. In that letter, I wrote, “… In the end it will likely be as much or more my story as it will be yours…”
When I look back over the last two years of writing the book, I am floored at how true those words became. In ways I could never have foretold. Even when I was certain that I was “making stuff up”, often on a deeper level, I was only painting pictures of what was already there right in front of me. Writing from a male perspective revealed to me aspects of my own psyche that surprised me. Shocked me, even.
One of the issues I struggled with through the pages and drafts of this story, was that my protagonist kept coming across as unsympathetic to my discerning readers. (Thank you, Sandra. Thank you, Lucinda) As much as I worked to redeem my poor Simon, he kept coming up as pathetic, inept or just plain useless. And I believed I was writing a compelling character full of depth and humanity. Go figure. When I dared peek under my own skin, I discovered I was writing from my own wounded masculine, my poor wrung-out male. Me. Nothing you could point a finger at, but there you go… it seeps out in the writing. Did anyone warn me of that? If they did I wasn’t listening, or thought I could beat that exposure… and also thought that with all my years of healing work, psychotherapy, psychodrama, energy work, regressions, etc. that I had met all my demons face to face.
So the question is where is the line between therapy and writing, between spirituality and writing…? Are there some? Is there one? I know it depends on what and how one writes, but in a character driven novel or a literary novel, I think it may be hard to escape. It is for me, apparently.
So I forge on… bringing the little boy within this little girl into the spotlight and helping him grow up, so that “poor Simon”, will become, if not a hero, at least a guy you want to read about.
I’ve been telling this story as if it’s about something other than me, but even in trousers and a moustache…