Everything human takes time . . .
This wisdom was given to me more than forty years ago when I was just starting out as a mental health therapist. This mentor must have sensed impatience in me. Indeed, assisting individuals with mild to moderate severity mental health issues is a very human endeavour, requiring both time and patience.
Now as an author, I realize the essence of fiction—both in its writing and also in its reading—is a very human activity too. It is about finding meaning, about relationship and companionship, about the good and the harmful bumping up against each other. You know, the stuff of being human.
And it takes time. If you rush it, you lose the essence.
The restructure, revise, edit, proof and polish phases of writing An Incoming Tide involved daily work for months on end–—actually, ten months oozing into an eleventh, twice as long as the initial writing. At times it just felt technical: about things like verb tenses, and commas and annoying little wording booboos. But at its heart, it was about the characters there—the ones I cared deeply about, and even the ones I despised. I didn’t want anything to get in the way of my future reader’s subjective experience of them. For them, both my readers and my characters, I needed my writing to be clear so meaning and relationship, and that way good and harm bump up against each other, would shine through.
It has been a very human endeavour, and it has taken lots of time.
Being human is also about individual subjectivity, both mine and yours, in worlds both fictional and otherwise. Our subjective, internal map of the world dictates how we make it through the outer world of circumstance and our engagement with others. And those others too, of course, are navigating from within their own subjective, internal maps of the world. Each reader of An Incoming Tide will bring their own subjectivity to their experience of the characters there, their story, and the humanness depicted.
It is that internal subjectivity that guides us—desperately or disappointedly at times, delightfully at others— guides us to discover meaning, experience companionship, and responsibly bring goodness into the world.
But we can get impatient, or at least I can.
Everything takes longer than it takes . . .
After the mentor’s magic of the first adage, this second one came to me as a result of my own experience of elaborating my inner world while engaging with the outer one. I was sensing my own impatience.
Part of one’s internal world are expectations: what should happen and when. We don’t always get those right. Life doesn’t go exactly as we predict because other humans are involved—and, even our internal maps of what should be can lead us astray.
I have had great work done for me on An Incoming Tide by FriesenPress. You get to experience that good work when you look at the cover of the novel—I still get captivated by the hovering eye over the incoming tide depicted there. As you read this blog on an elegantly designed website, you are reaping the benefits of a Designer and a Promotional Specialist who were willing to take the time to make beautiful the ideas I had.
At the outset, I didn’t understand why it would take the length of time that the consultant and Publication Specialist at FriesenPress said it would. They said, it just would. And in the end, it did. They were right. That, and a little bit more.
Initial estimates were that I would publish early November, then by the end of November, then early December. It turned out to be mid-December, not in time for Christmas gift giving. Alas. But it is here, and because we took the time, I can be really proud of the book you now (or soon) will be able to read.
These two adages, Everything human takes time and Everything takes longer than it takes stayed with me for over forty years on the frontlines of helping those with significant mental health difficulties. And now they flop over into my world as an author.
As much as impatience, and frustration, and bewilderment about the human condition of others (and I guess, of myself) has been part of that journey, ultimately it has been a very human endeavour—full of meaning, and companionship, and taking responsibility to bring goodness into this world.
I will never get it completely right—my expectations of others and how long things take. But I hope through my humanness I can bring wisdom and grace to the art of my living and writing.
INDEX OF PREVIOUS BLOGS
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September 2021. "It is beautiful because it tells the truth."
Beauty is not just about pretty, beauty can reveal the subjective experience of external realities.
October 2021. "Flow versus Focus"
As an author, I reflect on these two vastly different aspects of creating readable fiction.
November 2021 " Not a tidy little murder mystery"
My reflections as the author on the themes and uniqueness of plot in An Incoming Tide.