Friday, September 04, 2009

Update on The Constant Tower: Better late than never

Okay, so after eight months or so of working on The Constant Tower I am really discovering the basic source issues. Hey, it's not my fault the muse/black gang/creative unconscious tells me the important stuff on the back end when everything is in the revision stage.

The first is that the theme is of utter isolation and alienation. I've been so busy potting that I forgot the pain of this situation. I have to keep my mind focused on Psal's feeling of not quite belonging. He resents that. That's the power of the story.

The second is that of the kingship. I realized I've allowed Psal to be way too easygoing about losing his birthright. He shouldn't be.

The third is that of Lan. I always liked Lan and thought he was merely accepting of Psal because Lan's own dad was a studier. But it's deeper than that. Lan is resentful for Psal's sake. He knows how crappy it is to be rejected....even second hand. Lan is a kind of "Christian" figure in that he takes on the hatefulness of the world and the rejection although he isn't born to it. He's supremely annoyed that Psal was denied the kingship and this also explains why Nahas dislikes him.

The fourth is Seagen. Seagen is also the son of a studier. But he dislikes studiers and keeps away from them. He resents the alienation he had because of his father and thus distances himself from Osal.

Then there are Maharai and Ephan. Maharai is stuck there and they want her to be one of them but she aligns herself with the rejected. Ephan is overcome by the rejection because of his status but it's internal. No one can see it but it's there.

The last is that of Gaal. Gaal is a steward, also deprived of his rights as an equal in that society. He tends to get along with folks and has accepted his place. He likes Psal but because Psal has an issue with him it's as if the rejected is being further rejected by the rejected. That's why he goes over the edge, I think.

Totally happy about this. Why? Because it connects to me. Alienation is kinda my middle name. Tossed around from greedy cruel relatives to greedy cruel relatives when my mother came to America. Then after coming to America being treated so badly by the white kids in school and the black kids in school. Then the illness that attacked younger son and that attacked me. Something about being sick for so long does kinda shake away the veneer of normalcy from one's life and sometimes one hardly cares to put the veneer back on. Or else it seems like a burden or a chore. Then the in-law issues. Then the general nastiness from Christians toward my book.

So yeah, I DO kinda walk the borderlands. Between Christians and seculars, between Blacks and whites. American Christianity is so linked to trendy preaching, patriotism, clippy-clappy cake-bake prosperity mammon sermons, politics, racism, etc. So I don't quite fit in. And I tend to hang with secular speculative fiction writers who aren't exactly Bible believers. So there is this walking the borderlands thing. And unfortunately, having my own mind, and not quite wanting to please anyone I consider wrong, it does leave me with a sense of being distant from most folks. (Not from those I love, mercifully.)

This grief of isolation is in me. I'm a bit like Psal, though. I tend to be hurt about rejection but I've developed a snideness toward the rejecting that never really lets them near. (While on the other hand, I totally shower my friends with love.)

So now, reconnecting to the emotional source of the story will definitely help put some heart into the thing. Will see. Been battling the sleeplessness but trusting God. And younger son is doing so much better. So I'll be able to venture into the emotions of the character and leave this summer of numbness behind. Will see. Maybe CT will be one of my great works.
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