I’ve done a lot of work on myself this year in an LA kind of way. Internal work confronting the effect of my being abused as a child and its consequential effect on the rest of my life. Mankind, a local charity working with male survivors, has given me a truly life changing experience and this has in turn enabled me to confront stuff about my failed marriage and the damage done to my children and the distortion of my whole life. It wasn’t all terrible, far from it, but it was a battleground. Now I feel that battle has ceased. It’s not so much that I have won but the opponents have slunk away. I have recognised them for what they are – shadows on the wall formed by my own hands. Now I stand numb and survey the battlefield that is my past life. I have survived and so have those I love the most. I feel like I stand with a sword that is now unnecessary heavy in my hand and uncertain what to do now. I can’t rebuild; it’s blasted beyond that. Do I wander around looking at the dead? Do I finish off the mortally wounded? Do I try to heal those that can be healed. Or do I just stand back and let the grass grow and the birds return?
As far as the writing goes I am stopping work on “The Fragments.” The last one hasn’t worked and I found myself starting to analyse what made the others work and that is not a good idea. As an American writer – I will try and find him – said “Never look under the hood.”
I am returning to “Challenging Behaviour.” Two friends have read it and had similar responses and one friend read the opening section and then had to stop because it freaked them out. The opinion is that it is too compressed so becomes confusing, that the central couple need fleshing out, that transitions are too quick. However it was a fast read and very disturbing; so onwards! The couple need to reflect much more closely my own experience and the husband needs to lead into the wasteland, into the asylum. So expand the beginning a lot, open up all the characters, more time on the transitions.