So it’s been a bit of an uneven week. By uneven, I mean great heaping piles of it have blown chunks, the sort of steaming pile of excrement useful for fertilizing dead soil and making it deader.
It started when I re-read the ending of the novel. Ugh. It really was a hot mess. Better than the original ending by some margin, but far from what the beginning was. I finally resolved there was no answer but to chuck large portions of it and re-write with a fresh eye, and I toiled at filling the void where 20% of the book had once resided. I scoured the web for clues and puzzles, read some old Greek myths for thoughts, and began the process. It’s coming along, the new direction has given me fresh eyes and ideas, a three-part lead up to solving the first part of the mystery, which then naturally leads into the climax of the book.
Some of the ideas I started with when I began writing this whole thing are gone now. I was wedded to a story about how the Catholic church – called The Trinity in my novel – was coming down with crushing force on other races, marginalizing them and pushing them into the corners of the world in an effort to be rid of them. It felt so very forced, like it was tacked on. Shedding it allowed me to focus on the real core of the story, the main symbolism: death and the various ways it colors and shades our lives, seeps into our existence even as we live and love. Early in the book I had written this line, almost as a toss off, an afterthought: The dead were buried six feet under everything. Their dirt invaded every crack and crevice; their bony dust covered every surface. If not for the living, the world would belong to the dead.
And yet, that afterthought really is one of the core concepts of the book, and much more strongly represented through the entire work. There are those who are dead, there are The Dead, there is death. And from all that comes focus and momentum and life.
On top of the re-write, work has been crushing. The sheer volume of requests I’ve received have bogged me down to the point of near indecision at times. I’m seriously behind on a project I need to get done, but emergency requests are taking all my time, and now I have to figure out a piece of software I have almost no knowledge of to solve a mystery one of my customer’s is suffering from. Can I do it? Probably… maybe… I don’t like to be too self-assured, not every answer reveals itself when needed, but I’ll give it a go and see what happens.
But after all those difficulties, I was called in for a meeting late yesterday with people, some of whom I didn’t expect to be there (a surprise), and myself and the relationship manager I work with to help this department be successful were thoroughly and completely complimented on our work and how wonderful they think we are. Amazing how what seems like the worst week ever can turn into one of the best. Of course, once my project slips past its due date, we’ll see how quickly praise turns into grumbles. But I’ll cross that bridge once I’ve burned it down.