it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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Fain would I be / in my ain countrie

It's nearly October and I'm not in New England. I hate that. So I'm listening to Connecticut's own brilliant Hugh Blumenfeld as a cure for homesickness.

I know what happens in the next scene, down to chunks of dialogue. But I don't know how to start the damned scene. Time for more of that thrashing, I think.


At the beginning of a book, everything is very fluid, and there are myriad choices to be made. It's a process of exploration. When I start getting up on the ending, however, I find that all the choices I've made before predetermine and prefigure the choices I have to make now, so the feild, in some ways, narrows as I progress. And then there's the process where I know there's only one 'right' way for me to do a scene, but I haven't found it yet.

I have a lot of sympathy for Donna Tartt, who talks about writing three or five version of a scene and then going after them with scissors.

What I find really interesting in reading other fictional treatments both of Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe is the choices other writers have made. For example, nobody other than myself seems to have fastened on what, to me, is the most interesting detail about Marlowe: that here's a man who was very nearly a priest, whose work--from Tamburlaine to Faustus--is deeply concerned with questions of religion, God, and morality--and who by the end of his unfortunately short life seems to have been wrestling very deeply with an intellectualization or a rejection of faith. Whatever that faith meant to him, I don't think the easy and common answer--Marlowe was an atheist--works. And yet, unequivocally, every fictional treatment I've read of him has him as firmly atheistic and mocking the whole idea of God.

What an amazing source of conflict for so many fiction writers to duck it. Why wouldn't you go after that, pen blazing? That's--fascinating. And a wonderful fortuitous internal reflection of the external conflict and wrangling over religion that England was undergoing during that time period.

Meanwhile, there's Will Shakespeare. Who, other than coming across in his work as a bit of a secular humanist, is utterly frictionless on matters of God and Faith and judgement and--well, Shakespeare is just frictionless. Period. We know almost nothing about him, and his work is as enigmatic as his history. If we want to fictionalize Shakespeare we first must invent him. Marlowe, at least, has handles. Shakespeare might as well be nothing but his glorious poetry.

Oh, and a tax evader. *g* But really, that's all we can say.

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