I started out on 21 Soul to look at the relationship between my soul, self and my writing (hence the blog title). But my writing always comes back to love. That’s no bad thing. I’ve spent the last hour writing about a breaking sadness that has come into my life in the last few days. But I need some time to figure out if/when/what to post about that. I’ve written it all down, but I have to think about it some more. But, while writing it, or thinking about it, and about people, about love, I found out something else tonight—something to explore in a longer post—that the novel I’m working on (nearly finished!) is attempting, in a very social way, to explore soul questions, which are well summed up by David Whyte writing about crisis, when he says:
The wave form that catches a maturing human being from the inside is the inescapable nature of their own flaws and weaknesses, their self-deceptions and their attempts to create false names and stories to place on themselves and the world; the felt need to control the narrative of the story around them with no regard to outside revelation. The immense wave on the outside is the invitation to give that self up, to be borne off by the wave and be renamed and re ordered by the powerful flow.
This is exactly what my characters in my novel do, and are caught in. Right down to the creation of false names, and the reordering of themselves in a powerful flow of the outside world. And all of a sudden tonight I was able to see, for the first time, my novel as one step in a lifelong and important process of moving towards exploring this in both myself and in the world, through writing. It feels incredibly exciting but also empowering to know that, to feel that my writing explores these things, has enough integrity and honesty to explore these things.
I was worried about the belief that I had spent six years writing something that was too light, too immaterial to matter. A Woody Allen pastiche on the 1930s issues. But now I am reading it through for a final time, and also reading other heartfelt and soulful things (thanks to the friend who puts me onto these David Whyte quotes!) I can see that, yes, the subject matter of my novel is not something I would choose again… but the themes I care about are there, and they come through. That my writing has integrity. Integrity! That makes me feel good, purposeful. That I have something to say, and am learning an artistic craft to find ways to articulate those things.