Sunday, July 11, 2010


An update on the novel (which still has the working title Before Rock Attained Perfection but I'm determined to do better than that): This novel is being written, right now, in bits and pieces and it is presenting, as such, problems of cohesion. I keep trying to tell too much about the story rather than just tell the story in the pieces I'm turning out because they've yet to flow together. But in the past few weeks, I've had a series of breakthroughs on things like plot, character development, themes, etc, so I'm confident this cohesiveness problem will be easily rectified.

Speaking of breaking through a creative impediment, my most recent epiphany about the book came about this afternoon while I was showering. Not something many of my readers want to picture, I'm sure, but I am still going to talk about it, so ye be warned. No, I will not go into graphic detail about what I was wearing in the shower (which was, for the record, nothing, not even cut-offs), but I will go into the epiphany, and why I think it happened.

So I've been thinking a lot about the novel (obviously) and yesterday, one of my good friends whom I have known since I was twelve (almost thirteen, back in 7th grade) got married to a guy I wholeheartedly approve of. So that's good. We were close through high school and she was there for me when I needed her in my listless post-high school graduation pre-college funk with an invite to see the stage show Blast, and she came to visit me in Minnesota on her fall break (and inadvertently made my current wife jealous, because Kathy thought this friend was my girlfriend and Kathy, it turns out, wanted that job to be hers). So there was a lot of good feelings about this wedding, plus I got to see my best friend from high school Zach (the bass player in my old band The Hitchhikers, which I may or may not have mentioned on the blog before) plus some other good friends from back in the day. So with these good thoughts and old memories running through my head all day yesterday, and all night, I got up this morning (late) and got to working on the garden.

There is something to be said about working in a garden; feeling the dirt in your hands, holding the plants in your palms and feeling their life. It's...calming. And that's a big deal for me to say, because (as my parents are quick to point out) I would never, ever have voluntarily done any kind of gardening or yardwork, whatsoever, when I lived with them. And Kathy would takes a lot to get me out to do that kind of work and for some reason, I always forget how rewarding it can be. But working in the garden (not mowing the lawn, which is just sweaty or raking leaves, which is just painful) can really help me clear my mind a little.

After that, I took a shower, which is relaxing in a different way. Gardening relaxes my mind; a shower relaxes my body. So I was in there, relaxed mind and relaxed body, singing some Moody Blues softly to myself, when all of a sudden, a solution to one of the problems of my novel presented itself. The water was running down my back and over my shoulders and it just came t me.

I'll just go ahead and tell you a little bit about what I mean. There's a problem of the narrator's father believes that Rock music reached a pinnacle in 1976, and that since then it has been on a rapid downward spiral. The reason presented for this in the original short story on which the novel is founded is that Led Zeppelin's album Presence contained the greatest achievement of rock music, "Achilles Last Stand." But I needed there to be more to it than that, so I found a way for the narrator to discover his father's true reasons. I will say no more now. But I'm excited to get working on it.

Anyway...if your head is ever in a funk, do something with a little bit of a Zen feel to it. Rock garden. Real garden? Try it. Then take a shower. It seems to help me.


Bridget said...

I hear a visit to the Koenig Nature Reserve and a guided tour with Mr. Naturelove is quite relaxing as well...did you get everything planted?

Molly said...

happy to hear you had an epiphany. I went to epiphany. and it was. an epiphany, i mean.