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. My mentor must have sensed impatience in me.
Now as an author I realize the essence of fiction, both in its writing and also in its reading, is a very human endeavour. It is about finding meaning, about relationship and companionship, about the good and the harmful bumping up against each other—the stuff of being human.
And it takes time. If you rush it, you lose that 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 the 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.
Human ultimately comes down to 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— others who, of course, are navigating from within their own internal maps of the world, too. Readers of An Incoming Tide will bring their own subjectivity to their experience of the characters within, their story, and the humanness there.
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 recognize and promote what is good.
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. 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 oft lead us astray.
I 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.
Because it took longer than I thought it would take, it has made my subjective world of being an author better. I hope so for you as a consumer, too.
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, just better as I go along.