Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Beautiful One Has Come -- Onion and Creativity update

The name Nefretiti means: "The Beautiful One Has Come" and I kinda thought it was an appropriate title for my post. (Yes, I know that the famous bust of Queen Nefretiti was created by artisans one hundred or so years ago and not by some ancient Egyptian sculptor but nevertheless, I love the title. And I love the idea of Beauty. ) So here I am working on the YA novel. It's kinda dawning on me what this novel is about.

Two nights ago I dreamed of my old college roommate Miho. We had two Japanese exchange students in my apartment in college. This was 29 years ago so I don't remember Miho's last name. The other one was Yako. They were as different as night and day. Miho was a bitch on wheels. It was rumored she was on meds. She would get into these nasty moods and we'd all steer clear of her. On the other hand, there was sweet Yako who would say things like, "Why be unhappy when there is nothing to be unhappy about?" Yako was always smiling.

So imagine my surprise when Miho appears in my dream as a missing character. Last month I posted on blogging in black about missing characters, scenes, lines, sub-plots in a novel. I bewailed the fact that Wind Follower missed a crucial scene (which only I seemed to miss, but which is nevertheless missing.) So here's Miho. I worked on my novel yesterday and ignored Miho's appearance. Well, last night she pops up again...even more insistent that she belonged in my novel. So there I was in bed this morning, pondering how she fitted in. And then, voila, it began to dawn on me. So, am gonna put her in Onion today.

More and more it dawns on me that my stories come from a kind of alienation from the world. Which is good.  My characters are world-weary and tired of this earth. I don't know if that was Miho's problem 20 years ago. But we will see what I make of her this time around. Beauty perhaps. Maybe she'll be a foil for my main character...who is rather repressed, alas.

Am re-discovering, too, the angstyness of a good YA novel. Am trying to make it a clear true story and not to tell myself to write to any particular audience. So I'm not saying: Write this to make it fit into YA patterns. Or: write this to make it fit into Christian requirements. Am just kinda writing it and trying to make it a fairly non-nihilistic book. Why? I suppose because I struggle against the nihilistic, because my tendency is towards an unhappy ending, because my story feels like it wants to end sadly. But I don't want it to end unhappily. Not really. I want the beautiful guy to be won by the plain girl. Who was the poet who said: Isn't love enough? Why must I have beauty?

I suppose it's what Oscar Wilde calls the "mystery of beauty." Why do we not only love the beautiful but want the beautiful one to admire and love us too? Perhaps because deep in our hearts we know that Something very beautiful should love us. But also, there is the unnatural demonic worldly obsession with beauty that so many of us have been brainwashed to have...loving the Creature more than the Creator. Many of my gay male friends were kinda obsessed with this. Must ponder this.

So I want this for my female character. I want wealth and happiness for her as well. But -- because yours truly is so terribly terribly morbidly introspective-- it won't be typical of romances. It's already self-questioning. But that's me, I guess. I can't really write something that ends happily...even when it ends happily.  Will see.
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