I admit to a darker side.
Yes, I smile in the rain. But there is also the occasional Lynn who wakes in dire blackness, an inner dark that has nothing to do with the lateness of the hour. Usually, this is the cancerous by-product of some uncontrollable self-doubt. It is not constant, not by any means, but it is there.
Here’s the gift in it…. Good things have come of those heebie-jeebies: On two recent occasions, I’ve managed to turn those unwanted, uninvited moods into understandings that have richened my beloved characters; an unexpected grace in something so unpleasant.
Yet, the gift carries a question.
At what point must a story cease being an inward drama and begin being an outward one?
This ain’t Proust, after all. It’s fiction.
Especially in a book like the one that occupies me so completely, right now—a book that tells the tale of a cosmic and spiritual quest (and don’t worry, that’s not as unapproachably lofty as it sounds)—at what point does the character’s quest begin acting upon the outside world as well as the inner one?
I don’t know of all that many recent, wildly popular books that were so possessed by the inner world that the outer world has virtually disappeared from them. So many best-sellers seem to be preoccupied with somebody being chased somewhere, or with some interaction between the main character and outside forces that loom huge and threatening. Is there a place for a book dedicated to the revelations of inner world with necessary forays into the outer? What is the right balance between the two? And what does the writer do when the quest for that extra-inner-something seems to be the one thing worth writing about?
I think I know the answer. Perhaps there is room for both—without turning the quest into a mad conspiracy plot of gun-totings and high-level political double-dealings. One must have feet planted in the real world, after all. Even if it’s not the work’s main focus. Even if one’s head remains in the ethers.