Endings & Beginnings

There are days I wake and thank whichever god is currently in favour for the fact that I’m an Optimist. I’ve long been a devotee, but this month has seen a severe testing of that Faith.

Life usually balances fairly evenly on pillars of Domestic, Social, Work and Writing. Should one weaken or wobble, the others take the strain. And even if several start to crumble – leaving me precariously perched and in mortar-applying frenzy – there’s never a point at which all four would collapse simultaneously.

Or so I thought.

This month they did, and things going wrong induced much musing about endings and beginnings.

As part of this thinking I’ve considered my options with The Sky is Not Blue. I had a professional slating recently wherein I was told I don’t write well enough for the book to be a lit fic offering and yet whilst the writing is ‘good, better than many published books I could name‘ the storyline isn’t strong enough to suit the commercial end of debut fiction.

It hurt, but it’s true. Initially I thought about abandoning the book, starting something new, but I’ve decided to work on it for a little longer – weaving in more story – and have come up with some ideas worth pursuing. It means writing another 20-30k words and merging these with the existing story, but the end result ought to be a Better Book.

I’ve also agreed to help my dad with six non-fiction manuscripts, representing 40 years’ of his research. It took me a few weeks to mull over this request because it’s a huge project and a whole new area of study for me. But it’s fascinating. The main thrust of his work concerns Solomon’s Temple – beyond that I can’t say… it’s controversial, interesting and now I’ve agreed to help I’m quite excited.

The little film with this blog (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5Mn8MVeZUE) illustrates the limbo in which I currently reside – as we wait for a date for our house move, as I adjust to various other changes both wanted and unwanted, as I gear myself up for yet another re-write of Sky, and also as I make some fairly significant work-related decisions…

Endings and Beginnings.

But do they exist as individual entities? Or are they points along the same line, overlapping as one context blends and transforms into another? I believe it’s the latter. They are one, it’s just a matter of perspective.

Few have discussed this better than T S Eliot:

What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.

Optimism is the finest of mortars, is it not?


5 Replies to “Endings & Beginnings”

  1. You and Glenn should form a club. I’d like to join but 1) I can’t write as well as you two, and 2) I’m probably too reticent to be this honest in public. I guess that means I could be the cashier … Seriously, as I said on FB; sad but deeply touching writing. And yes; Optimism is the finest of mortars Bravo.

  2. My (ex) agent bellowed in my ear for two years the mantra of the gripping storyline. So I concentrated on underwriting a predominantly plot-driven novel about World War II. I was slightly bewildered when (ex) agent turned it down. Optimism is the finest of mortars; but perhaps not the sturdiest. In fact, how easy to turns to rubble.

  3. Oh, I do so understand. I had a similar experience (book rejected) which had me doubting myself. That said, it's part of this writing lark, isn't it? Who is your audience? (And does the critic know of which s/he speaks)Solomon's Temple sounds FAScinating! And as you say, endings are beginings.

  4. Great post Sandie and love the poem I've just read somewhere else around here too – rang a few bells with me. I think rejections of the type you describe are of the 'near miss' variety and while you're getting them, you HAVE to continue. In my humble…but then, I have read your work 😉

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