I’ve been thinking about the past, mine and the world’s, for a while now. I’m working on something that starts there and ends up . . . somewhere.
The details are not important just yet. The main purpose right now is to understand what the damn book is trying to tell me. It’s the second part of a trilogy that I decided to write after spending the better part of a year trying to write it as one book. Silly me!
It begins in the past, like all the best books. A ‘once upon a time’ thing, only set in Dublin in the 1960’s so the chance of them all living ‘happily-ever-after’ is slim. But you never know.
I’ve grown very attached to a few of the characters and doubt I can send them off to the bad ends I had once planned for them. It’s not in me.
Yes, I still like to peek beneath the veneers and see what life is really like when we take off the Wellbutrin tinted glasses.
Not that I want to beat myself down with the weight of all the sins we have committed in the past, to ourselves, others and Life.
What I want to draw attention to is best summed up by one of my favourite sayings, ‘the more things change . . .’ That’s why I’m digging around in the past – to find the literary equivalent of artifacts. Or at least that what I think I’m doing. But I might be wrong.
All that I dig up, intending to use a central motif, might just end up being pared down to the essence and become the backdrop. Who knows? Most of the time writers are just the typists, especially when they get out of their own way.
And that’s the thing that I share with history and the rest of humanity – getting in my own way. That and burdening myself with a headful of details so that they can be distilled in the smoky, disorganised corner in which I write. Sometimes, I feel like one of those old monks that scratched away in the gloom. You know, like Bruno and the rest of them that got burned for their troubles! Yet the ashes of their words are still settling.
Wouldn’t that be a grand thing but I live in a different age. I would be wealthy if I was given money every time I head the phrase: ‘out-of-the-box-thinking.’ Governments, Businesses, Churches all claim they are looking for it but they really only want the type of thinking that jumps right back into the box.
But that’s nothing new. We’ve been around this part of the course many times before.
A few years ago I got to take my kids to Rome and when we visited the green mound that once was the Circus Maximus, I had them run around it.
They were both young and active and loved it but what I hoped they would get from it was a glimpse of time and place and history. It could come in handy when they try to make sense of the world we have made for them.