Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I had a rather shocking moment of realization today. I was thinking about writing, as I almost always am, and my thoughts turned to my only 'finished' attempt at a novel thus far, The Subtle War.

Recently I began sending chunks of this to a friend to read and this spurred me to pull out the hard copy Sara printed and had bound for me. I've been trying to avoid doing this for a awhile simply because I am immersed in writing a new novel and to start delving back into the depths of TSW, I knew, would spark me to want to begin re-writing or editing it again*.

But yesterday dive back into it I did, albeit very briefly.

This brings us up almost to the present. In driving to get coffee this morning (read: afternoon) a thought suddenly came to me.

I have become one of my characters.

Now before you take this merely at face value, please, read my previous post. It pertains, among other things, to the strange phenomenon I've discovered as a writer: the world of your story can be used to manifest changes in the world in which you live.

I knew when I began writing TSW that I was writing it to try and trigger something, I just wasn't sure what. I had a head recently pumped full of all kinds of esoteric ideas, I was single, I was in a band, etc. Lots of different angles. The story has several 'main' characters, none of which were directly me, but of course there were little bits of me in most of them. They are all moving through imperfect versions of themselves, trying to become something else. Jake, arguably the 'main' main character is a stylized version of my long ago best friend of the same name. Really I split him in half via the other character, Corey, who is sort of the evil doppleganger of Jake. I think these characters are the least 'me' because the were my attempt to revitalize the soul of my friend who died - I wanted to make him a hero, and conquer some of the demons that haunted him while he was alive.

Quinten Alpha Haley however is the character that somehow, and I didn't realize how well it worked until today, I became, or predicted, or whatever.

Since moving to Cali over two years ago I have indeed turned into this character. Quinten stays in his apartment, does not leave.

This is me.

Aside from work, and the very occasional outing with Sara and friends, I don't leave our place. What's more, Quinten sits with a computer as his only real window to the world, head full of Occult knowledge which has essentially become useless to him, writing journal entries. He stares out a window and longs to make the connections he needs to reinstate himself in the world in a way that will make him meaningful - again, everything right down to the fact that the window in front of the desk where I sit now typing this, is an almost exact replica of what I originally had in mind.

It's funny how these microcosm/macrocosm things work, funnier still that the joke has so totally been on me. For one thing, right after moving out here and receiving a slew of rejection letters for the novel, I went in and took out almost all of the first person technique on the major characters except for Quinten, as the journal entries are the initial introduction and developement device of his character. In thinking about all this now I'm wondering if it was this final, definitive definition of writing as Quinten that did it. 'I' became the 'I' in the book.

Whatever the reason, this is just too perfect of a fit to be anything other than Magick. I too sit at the computer, my window into the outside world, writing journal entries (you're reading one now) and longing to make the connections (agent, publisher) that will reinstall me back into the world in a meaningful fashion as the person I want to be. I had a guidance councilor in high school who told me I was extremely insightful of myself, and that strikes me now as I analyze this bizarre transfiguration into a character I've created. Quinten removed himself from the world he knew in order to reemerge as something better. This was the underlying motivation for me, personally, in our move across country. Sure, the move was for Sara and her chance to advance, but it was also for me to try and redefine myself as a writer after spending ten years trying to make band after band work. I removed myself from 'the world' (read: everything I knew) with the intent of reemerging as something new.

How do I control this? How do I use this to my advantage? How do I use this to put myself in a position to do what I want with my life instead of continuing to waste it working in a job that has nothing to do or offer the 'real' me?

I'll have to think about this more and get back to you if I come up with anything...


* The novel is really only finished in terms of having a (mostly) cohesive start, a lot of work on tense and just generally better sentence structure must be devised.

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