Monday, July 25, 2005

God: A Frustrated Novelist

The past couple Sundays I've been watching Joel Osteen. I find myself drawn to his sermons, which are always positive, insightful, never judgemental or partisan; and they always seem to connect with the issues I'm dealing with in my life right now, so much so it's bizarre. So I watch and this week he said something I really liked:

"I'd rather believe in something better and get half of it, than believe in nothing, and get all of it."

He wasn't talking about God or Heaven or Jesus - he was talking about a person's own faith in themselves, in their own possibility. And I found myself thinking a lot lately about God, about why things are the way they are, and I've come to see God as a writer. Our life here must be very much like a story forming in a writer's head to God; he knows how it starts, has a fair idea of how it ends, but has no clue how to get there. The characters don't always do what he tells them to, sometimes even lead him down roads he didn't know were there, but they always lead somewhere. This (life as we know it) may not be the first draft, but it's an early one.

I've been carefully revising The Angel Book lately, but I've come to realize there are holes in it I just can't patch with the resources I've got. I need to do some heavy duty research into everyday life in 14th century Ireland, and no books I've read seem to help. I'm thinking of applying for a research grant to let me go over to Ireland for a spell to do the work I need, and to finish this book.

I have a couple seperate ideas for new short stories, one taking place in the little universe of the (EPIC TRILOGY ALERT) big sci-fi thing I'm doing. It's still kind of gelling right now, but I know it involves zepplins. Because at some point, there must be zepplins.

Sugu asked me to dream up a cover to the second book of the trilogy (finished back in May) and that was fun; I hadn't given it much thought, actually. I thought a while on what one image could evoke a book 740 pages long, and I think maybe I did.

I've been thinking some on the last book in this trilogy, and endings; James Wood talks thoughtfully on endings in novels, how really they don't want to end. I certainly feel that. The novel is the restricted serial, almost inherently flawed in its ambition to both contain story and the simulacrum of life.

No comments: