In Which I Admit Something Unsightly

When I see something like this, I burn with jealousy. It’s good, it’s motivational jealousy, but it’s there. I want Pith to write awesome shit about how great my book is. I want people to point people to my book. In this way, I feel like a teenager.

When the Professor, her friend, and I had lunch, one of the things we talked about is how we were brought up to not really want anything, to not strive for anything, to just sit back and wait for God, as Divine Snowplow, to clear the way. And if He didn’t? Well, then, it must not have been something He really wanted for you.

So, it’s strange, in my late thirties, to come to this feeling of “Oh my god, I want that, too” so strong that it burns in my gut. It almost blinds me to reason–my book will just be that good, or better. No doubt. End of discussion. I will work and work and work.

I mean, seriously, what the fuck? Is this what drive is like? And where the fuck did it come from? Am I going to hit forty and suddenly start keeping a clean house?

One of the things I’m trying to get at in the novel is kind of this “don’t do anything, just wait for God to act” nonsense and how it relegates people to secondary characters in their own lives. One of the things Hannah–who is being forced by fate a little to learn to take some action, to do some things (including the Devil! Hee!), to kind of be the central figure in her own life–keeps running into is that this weird supernatural thing is happening to her and almost everyone she knows only has a Christian context in which to understand it, herself included, which, fine, okay. But more than that, because she’s a minister’s kid, a daughter specifically, it’s very hard for the people in the Church she encounters to understand her as anything other than, at best, someone in spiritual crisis who needs their guidance, or at worst, a pawn that can be moved around to their/God’s own end. But just being understood as someone who is, at least kind of, capable of self-momentum and not just waiting for the way to be cleared is nearly impossible for her.

Even, in the end, I think that’s what most upset me about the stuff with the Devil. Even he, old and knowledgeable in the ways of people, couldn’t understand that she was not intersecting with him to help him in his story, at least not solely. He didn’t understand that she didn’t see herself as a minor character in his drama with God. And if there was any hope of anyone who thought that way in the book getting that, it was him.

I think I’ve just flat out decided that Lurancy is the presence of God in the book and that Hanna never gets that. Hannah’s on a path to something else, so I think that’s okay. And I love the idea of God as an elderly Midwestern woman who possesses a girl.

But then I think, if I want the Scene to love my book, I should write something more straightforward. With less Satan fucking. You know, more appealing to more people.

But how can I tell the truth of the matter if I don’t tell it in a way that feels true to me?

5 thoughts on “In Which I Admit Something Unsightly

  1. It really sounds like an awesome book, though. You know, I’m married to an ambitious artistic type and he goes through this every time. There’s the Vision he has for whatever he’s doing, and the constant frustration that so few people get it. It’s tough. But, he’s happier doing it than not, and you never know; someday, people might get it. That’s what keeps him going, those two things; he HAS to do it, and so long as he’s not dead yet, good stuff can still happen to him.

  2. Not only is it not unsightly to admit to really, really wanting something, that kind of desire is actually rather attractive. At least, when combined with doing something about it.

  3. I think that there’s not just a passivity about it. I think there’s an active roadblock that it would be hubris to seek the attention and credit.

    Oh – about the past and the ways we were raised. Not what is actually unsightly or anything. You should want that attention. I felt something quite similar while reading that post earlier today. I do have something to say, and I’m not out of line for asking people to listen. Same for you.

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